Closing: Of Walgreens and Studio Ghibli

by AJ Adejare

Clack clack clack.  I typed in Walgreens into Apple Maps and pressed enter on my iPhone.  I saw the map and looked at the way to get there.  Weirdly enough, Apple decided to do weird mapping instead of just going straight.  So I did what I normally do with Apple Maps directions, ignore most of it and do most of my thing.  Driving up there it told me to make a turn left, when I clearly saw the Walgreens on my right.  Turning into the complex, I saw a banner:

When Studio Ghibli announced its wind down, we were shocked.  The way the news traveled we thought it shut down. You often times hear of closings, like Dreamworks doing their layoffs, of the normal closing of video game studios.  But there are things we keep permanent.  For instance, if someone said a McDonald’s closing, we say “Heh, are they remodeling?”  Yet, we have that same feelings with Studio Ghibli only for them to say “Neither, we’re winding down.”

Of course you’re taken aback.  But the feelings act in waves.  The institution you thought would stand until the end of time, suddenly crumbling is the first to hit.  How could this happen?  Why would this happen?  Was there enough money?  Did something more sinister go down?  Thoughts like these run rampant throughout the brain, with the immediate griefs and rest in piece vocal montages said almost in tandem.  Thus, we start the five stages of grief for the institution, and some go through it faster than others.

As I walked through the Walgreens, I saw barren shelves in a major section.  The section that would bring customers to maybe pick up something that they may have forgot.  Maybe splurge a bit because you just got through a rough period of your life.  Walking past it, I go through and see other shelves.  A lot of products still there, showing some sign that maybe it’s a joke.  Intertwined with some discounts that show otherwise, maybe it’s just down and needs some tender loving care (TLC).

When Marine Was There acts a reminder that maybe Ghibli needs some TLC and not closure.  If this movie does well and resonates maybe they will change their minds and continue again.  I mean surely, with this movie, there’s some major health within the company. Just pull through and it will work out.

Then it sinks in.  What about the people in the studio, what about their families, what about their jobs?  In the same vein, I felt that pang for the workers at the Walgreens, we all must have thought the same for Studio Ghibli.   The workers while doing great, don’t deserve to go through the job hunt.  While you know they will do fine, the aspect of it is still painful and really shouldn’t be done by force.

I pick up my first item from Walgreens and stroll around the halls, looking at what happened.  Shelves of past articles gone, shelves of necessary items still there.  A mix match of items to remind you that while it’s closing it still has life.

I walked to the last isle where I saw yet another reminder of the store closing: near empty freezer shelves.  I found that it was discounted and took a look.  Seeing two ice cream tubs, I grabbed them and took them with me.

Walking up to the counter, I waited in line for my turn.  Standing there, I thought about the store, about how it could get to closing, and if this was a signal for anything else that could go wrong with the economy.  The same feelings must have happened with Studio Ghibli, that maybe this wind down marks the beginning of the end for anime.  I mean it’s very tempting to say that, especially if you come from an older generation.  The fact that it can be on the table however, and done because of a long time institution packing up, is a plausible narrative.  Yet, just like the closure of the Walgreens, I wave it off.  Not one major closing, regardless of how big it is, is the start of a decline of something being over.

I talked to one of the cashiers asking what would happen to them?  Would they be transferred?  “Yep” the cashier said, and that made me relieved.

That’s probably the same approach we felt when we realized they’re making way for new talent.  It’s easy to get caught up with a sense of shock with one store closing or one studio’s wind down.  When we can find a way to positively replace the shock with relieve, it’s done.  Although we still cling on to healthy skepticism and forlorn, the fact that maybe something better on the horizon waits for us can subdue that feeling.

Rug up, and paid, I walked out the door, but I couldn’t help but feel a solemn wave come before me.  Something I thought would never happened, did.  While things are looking up, the fact that this Walgreens was closing makes me pause.  Maybe we need that pause.  Pause to appreciate the contributions given and feel grateful that it even happened.  Pause to reflect on the lessons learned from going through this experience.  Pause for going through the motions to get to where we are.  The fact that Studio Ghibli caused it makes it all the more effective in taking the time to reflect. Having these feelings, makes us grow as a person, appreciate the times events, people, experiences, animation studios, gave us what we need at the time we needed it most.

That maybe the best thing to take away from both of these events: we’re going through a closure, time to reflect in earnest and look forward to the future.

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