Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
People often ask me why and how I ended up in Columbus. Having grown up in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, Columbus is a totally different place and experience than what I was used to. I ended up here because nine months after graduating college, it was the location of the first place (in my then-career of broadcasting) that offered me a job (and I’ve stayed for other reasons).
I had interviewed at a few other television stations in the months following that walk down the aisle set to Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage’s theme song, but no luck. So I had an interview with a station here in Columbus almost ten years ago (give or take a few months) provided I could get here on my own. Not knowing the city, I booked a hotel room (in some online deal) and drove myself out here in my 1986 Buick Century Limited (which even then, was real old). The hotel was located off of the intersection of Morse Road and Interstate 71, which, upon my arrival, I found was not close at all to the location of my interview.
The day before the interview, I pulled into Columbus, with plenty of time and energy to waste. The hotel clerk mentioned a nearby mall, so I headed a few miles down Morse to Northland Mall. It wasn’t the most modern mall, nor the most lively, but it wasn’t a horrible place to pass some time (however, had I known Easton was a few more miles down the road, I may have skipped Northland entirely).
Did well in the interview, drove back home (at 2 in the morning), and a month later, got the job. Moved out to Ohio, packing the Limited full, and drove out with King Classic, who helped me look for an apartment. I found something on the other side of town, much closer to the station.
Even now, I live on the same side of town, and while I’ll go to the eastern side of town for some things, I really haven’t spent much time in that Morse Rd./Northland area. I was aware that a few years ago, they tore Northland down, because after Easton (and Polaris), business just dried up.
Earlier today, I had to attend a meeting at the Department of Taxation, based in a new building located on the spot of the former Northland Mall. It was weird going back to this place where even though I spent only a few hours, I had so many vivid memories. The nervousness, boldness, loneliness and hope I felt that night before the interview all came back to me. I don’t want to say Northland was a special place (although to some, I’m sure it was), but the memories just hit me again.
Here was this brand spanking new building taking up space on the lot on which, nine years and ten months ago, I had parked the Limited while looking for a way to waste a few hours. The only remnants of a mall was a lone anchor store, standing vacant without any identity, resigned to an unknown fate.
The last time I was there, I was full of emotion, uncertain of the future. Today, I went back, just another day.
In some ways, the past ten years have gone by quickly. It’s striking that I’ve been here this long to notice changes like this. I think the me back then would have been happy to know that things ended up the way they did. But then again, I think I expected it.