A thin man — maybe it was a woman (honestly was hard to tell in my tired state) was looking through one of the several bins of used records in front of Easy Street Records in West Seattle. I was walking to a friend’s apartment to take a short nap and my wife and I thought we saw our friend walk into the store.
The person pulled out a particular record and looked quite pleased with both the find and the price of the find. We entered the store for the purpose of finding our friend when we happened to pass by the Metal vinyl section and I was curious to see what they had in the Boris section. I have recently been listening to more Boris on the recommendation of my colleagues and hearing it at work.
I immediately spotted a record which is no longer available from the record label (There were 1000 copies pressed onto yellow vinyl) for which I believe a colleague of mine paid a few times the retail value on eBay. I am not a big enough fan to pay that much but I have no problem paying $18 for this magnificent work of art.
Only several minutes earlier, I had been in a bookstore I affectionately referred to as Stephen King’s due to the owner resembling the author. He recognized me and asked where I had been (I used to visit this bookstore when I lived in the area a few years ago) and after a little catch-up I told him that I had read one of Charlaine Harris’ “Sookie Stackhouse” books on the plane ride over.
He immediately found three other books by Harris and said that I would enjoy them. He even found the first book in the “Sookie Stackhouse” series to give to my mother-in-law. I fully realize that Charlaine Harris is not Marcel Proust but it is a fun read.
After getting the record, I went upstairs to our friend Allison’s apartment where I took a two hour nap. Allison’s apartment is full of all sorts of collectibles — figurines, plush, posters, old signs, etc.
All of this ties together as follows — it is true that all of these things from the music to the books to the figurines can be digitally approximated. As I write this I am listening to a digital copy of music that is housed on my iPod. Real tactile experiences, however, cannot be digitally reproduced.
You cannot digitally reproduce the feeling I got when I found the Boris record sitting sealed in the store, or the shimmer of recognition in the eyes of the bookstore owner when I came in after being away from Seattle for nearly two full years — even if my visit only lasted twelve hours from landing to takeoff.
Buying an MP3 will never be like finding a record for which you have searched for many years unsuccessfully. The truth is that you just can’t digitally reproduce the thrill of the hunt.