That’s a line from the movie The Last Waltz. The cameraman has started a discussion about how The Band in the early days used to constantly jam. He’s trying to get them to start such a jam as the band prepares to play its last concert prior to dissolving. One member tries to start something, but no one’s heart is in it, and the music fizzles out almost immediately. Robbie Robertson remarks, desolately, “It’s not like it used to be.”
I met a friend for lunch in a part of town I once frequented. I’ve been thinking about getting a new pair of FootJoys, so on my way home I stopped at a golf chain store where I spent many a dollar back in the day. A friend and I used to eat lunch then fill up the remainder of our hour at the music store, the bookstore, or the golf store. The music stores (there were two, one with CDs, the other guitars) and bookstore are long gone.
I pulled into the parking lot and for a moment I thought the golf store had shut down, too. There was a single car in the parking lot. I spotted four cars off to the side of the store: the employees’ cars. One of them pulled out, headed to lunch, as I walked toward the front door.
An employee shouted a greeting as I entered. I told him I was just looking around. Two employees swapped golf-related stories with each other the five minutes I was in the store. Another fiddled around with a bag hanging on the wall.
I used to get impatient waiting to be helped. The lunch hour was always hectic with people rushing in and out. Today it was a ghost town.
It’s not like it used to be.