It's not surprising that Video Gallery on 7th Avenue in Park Slope is shutting down at the end of this month, but that doesn't make it any less of a shame. I moved out of the neighborhood last year, and the only thing I miss about it, in addition to its close proximity to the best park in the city, is Video Gallery.

Video Gallery is not a large store, but it was splendidly curated. I lived in an exceptionally rundown brownstone nearby, at the opposite end of the house from the wireless router. As a result, I was unable to get even a whisper of Internet access in my bedroom, which of course was the only place I ever wanted to sit and stream Netflix. (Craigslist roommates, know what I mean?) It was a pretty enough room, but counting the cracks on the wall while waiting for a Mad Men episode that would never, ever load was a dull hobby. That's when I'd walk over to Video Gallery and see what I could dredge up.

The store was staffed by a small rotating cast, but I was always happy when owner Kathy Smelyansky was behind the counter. Netflix may rely on sophisticated algorithms for recommending films, letting the cold calculus of logic insist that I really did want to watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but Kathy's suggestions were always impeccable.

I was one of those needy customers that constantly demanded rental advice, despite offering no personal information on my tastes or predilections—at least beyond that it was 9:50 p.m. on a Friday, and I was wearing a 1989 soccer camp T-shirt with a ketchup stain on one sleeve. (Now that I think about it, that probably spoke volumes.) "Have you seen Walking And Talking?" she asked. I had not, but Catherine Keener is a national treasure! It's still one of my favorite movies. She once tried to talk me out of renting Amour. I should have let her. I'm by no means a sophisticated cinephile, but there's nothing worse than trying to watch a movie that's out of synch with your mood, and Kathy seemed to get that.

Rentals went by the day, but to my knowledge, the store didn't have a drop box. Weeks would pass before I'd return my movies, at first because I was busy, but then to avoid what were surely the hundreds of dollars in accumulated rental fees. (I'm aware that this brand of procrastination makes no sense.) After around a week, one of Kathy's daytime associates would leave me a voicemail: "I'm calling from the video store, Video Gallery. You have had Bad Santa for 15 days. It is overdue. Please bring it back tonight, we are open 'til 10 o'clock."

Still, when I sheepishly returned to face the music, my total never exceeded 20 bucks. This was because, despite my gross negligence/inept avoidance tactics, rentals were stunningly cheap—something like $1.50 a day.

I returned my last movie the morning I was set to move from Park Slope, making what would be my final chagrined slink through the door just a few minutes before my movers were scheduled to shuttle me across town. The clerk was helping someone else at the time, so I shrugged and left without paying my fine.

By then, I figured, I'd done more than my part in keeping them afloat. I wondered, as I always did when smoothing the stacks of crumpled bills over the white counter, just how much Video Gallery relied on me to keep them in business. I worried, arrogantly, what would happen to them when I left, as though they were somehow incapable of carrying on without my patronage. When I returned to the neighborhood to fill a prescription or get a hair cut, I was always relieved to see its door still open, parents with children and nerdy teenage couples perusing the aisles. Like a noble ghost returned to Earth to check on loved ones, I was pleased that life was carrying on without me. Apparently, I was wrong.

What I'm trying to say is, Video Gallery isn't just another casualty of newer, more portable technology, a victim of the wholesale shift to the Internet age. It's because I made the mistake of moving to a new neighborhood, depriving them my lucrative late fees. I did it. I killed Video Gallery. If I pay up that final late fee, will you guys stay? Please?

(h/t Park Slope Stoop)