No one disputes it – two years of Life, Interrupted – sucked. I’d sit home, fantasizing about favorite restaurants while feeling horrified at how close the people around me-in-the-past were sitting, as meansured by my new Covid yardstick. Or, I’d picture myself on the train, and wonder how I could keep a safe space around future me.
Eventually, we started to go out again. One of the places I imagined walking into was the Kit Kraft store in Studio City. It looked and felt like something from the past. Aisles stuffed with craft supplies, golden chains, polished rocks, squared leather lacing. A person could just make Stuff from their Stuff and never stop. I’d see Dads in there with their kids, each conferring and advising the other until I couldn’t tell who was in charge.
Sets of paint pots hung from vintage pegboards. At the back, walls were given over to a collection of assembled model airplanes, the kind that had tiny gas engines turning their props. Flying. There was a well-established nest of More Stuff behind the counter where the cash register lived, guarded by an old swivel chair with layers of tape on the seat. Not exactly OSHA-approved. Two or three people were in constant conference in this corral of inventory. Paradise.
It was one of the first places I hit once we were allowed more freedom and shopping didn’t have to mean Curbside. I went inside feeling my skin prickle with happiness. “You’re still here!” “Yeah, we are” came the reply. “You’re not going to quit soon, are you?” I asked, scared of the answer. “No” – a chuckle. I bought tiny things for a project, a miserly purchase far from helping to keep their lights on and I knew it. I left feeling happy that parts of my world I loved were bridging Lockdown, to whatever our future would be.
But it was not to be. I came up the sidewalk to this Closed you see here. After a moment of horror, I went down the walk to neighboring Big 5 Sports and howled brokenheartedly. The guy there knew some details I’ve already forgotten. Retiring, moving, got a good offer, the properties’ worth a fortune now – pick one or more. What did it matter? They were gone, and none of the noises I made would bring them back. I’d unknowingly taken my last tour ever of the wonderful store that needed quiet, thoughtful craftsmanship to enjoy what they smilingly sold us.
Happy Trails, Kit Kraft and fellow customers. May the glue come off your fingers and the paint wash from your cuffs. ‘Til we meet again.