In "Avid Video and Bull City Records adapt rather than fail" (Indies Arts Awards, July 20), Grayson Currin wrote about two locally owned businesses persisting in industries that have changed beyond recognition. I'd like to share a personal anecdote about why I choose bricks-and-mortar businesses over online transactions.
For years, I've compiled my home "films festivals" from Jason Jordan's archive of indie flicks, documentaries and foreign films at Avid Video. Then on December 28, 2010, my sister, Melissa—an artist and athlete, on the brink of mid-life—suffered a massive stroke that extinguished her ability to speak and left her partly paralyzed. I brought her to live with me in Durham, and our world became smaller and more isolated as we both grappled to adjust.
When I introduced her to Avid Video, she still relied on a wheelchair and was afraid to get out of the car. Over months, she graduated to a walker, then a quad cane, and finally summoned the gumption to go inside. When she spoke her first, labored words, Jason Jordan had the patience to listen. In time, they began conversations about films and actors they loved. His welcome meant so much to my sister that she started to request daily visits to the video store. Jason became one of her first friends in Durham.
When I struggle to meet Melissa's rehab needs daily, it would be easier to just download films. But our lives would be much lonelier for the convenience of it. Netflix can't replace being seen and heard by neighbors, and I'll continue to make the time for that gift of community, a few blocks from home.