May 21, 1996. It’s just another Tuesday toward the end of sixth grade, and I partake in an all-too-common after-school activity for 11-year-old me: going record shopping. (Until recently, new records were released on Tuesdays. Now Fridays are when new tunes hit the shelves.) Whenever I can, I pop into America's oldest independently owned record shop, the Exclusive Company in downtown Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
(Not just on Tuesdays, mind you. Since I was 9 or 10, I've spent far too much time—or perhaps not enough, depending on you look at it—at Exclusive. However, Tuesdays were kind of a big deal.)
I push past the old, heavy wooden door (of the previous Exclusive location) into the dark, catacomb-like musical haven and my feet are greeted with the warped, uneven hard wood floors, while my nose takes in the smell. It wasn't a bad smell—quite fantastic, actually. If you spent time in the old Exclusive, you know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't know how to describe it other than saying it smelled like a record shop. Fuck, I miss that scent.