I found my Blockbuster card last week. It was sat in the drawer i use for those coffee loyalty cards and half spent book tokens. The things you need, but not every day. The things with value, but not valuable per se. The ones you always say ‘now where did i leave that thing…’ 

It’s the drawer where i keep those tiny screwdrivers to fix my glasses.

I guess i put it there when i last got back from the video shop, which was not so much last week as two decades ago. And there it’s sat ever since.

I have some mental image that somewhere, in a recycling yard, under crushed filing cabinets and threadbare office chairs, sits a hard drive with my data on it. Equally abandoned, rusting slowly away. Next to the one with all the lost cryptocurrency on it.

Sometimes that’s how it happens: we do not intend to change, we do not plan it, it’s just that things fall out of practice, fall out of our lives.

Not just things: sometimes the same thing happens to people.

Our communities and networks are dynamic structures: sometimes we actively move ourselves into or out of them, and sometimes they just atrophy, fall silent, and are never spoken to again.

Silent spaces.

The same is true of learning too of course: some things we learn and use constantly, whilst other things fade slowly away. Like the ability to solve quadratic equations.

Perhaps what matters is whether this loss is through neglect, or curation, by accident or by design.

It’s good to stop doing things we no longer need to do, good to remove ourselves from context and community, good to take ourselves out of conversations.

But as a deliberate, a conscious, effort. To be mindful of the direction that we travel in.

In some ways, i’m glad that card is dead, it’s data forgotten or lost. A legacy of Jackie Chan films, of Friday night parties, of endless pizza. There’s no high culture held on that magnetic strip.

Blockbusters was for the empty times, the leisure time, until it fell out of time.

I’m still keeping the card though: safely put back to bed, to slumber on.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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2 Responses to Blockbusters

  1. mamagaea says:

    You know you have to visit Oregon now, don’t you? The last Blockbuster in existence is in Bend, Oregon. And you can even sleep there as a B&B.

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