Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Paying Heed

aka My Turn to Yell at a Cloud 

This item made me think about moments when I have noticed cultural changes. Usually things change slowly over time but occasionally I've noticed being on the lintel between the past and future. For the most part, I am feeling contemplative about these, not grieving but observing these markers of the passage of time.

Gas price going above $1.00 per gallon. I was a teenager in 1980s New Mexico and noticed when this happened. I heard about gas prices in the news and knew that prices generally go up over time, not down. So I wondered if I'd ever see them go back down under that line. Nope.

The use of thin plastic bags at the grocery story. I remember hating the sound of these bags rustling. I was annoyed by them and wished they would disappear. They have not. I still love using brown paper bags and making crafts out of them. Most of the time I use reusable bags at the grocery store. I use produce bags for veggies in the crisper drawer and I use plastic bags to line wastebaskets. Oh and to dispose of pet excrement. I acknowledge the usefulness of thin plastic bags while still wishing they would disappear. 

The end of daily local newspapers. I realized years ago that I was outliving newspapers and it upset me. This is driven by the collapse of print advertising in favor of the intrusive chaos of online advertising. I'm still trying to figure out how to have a full life without a pile of old newspapers ready to use. I have a bag hanging in the garage of old papers for firestarting, etc. I pay for a subscription to the local newspaper on Sundays only, mostly for the reprinted nytimes crossword. I plan to quit that by the end of the calendar year. There is an upstart online local news source that I'd like to support instead.

Office paper goods. Stickling with paper for a moment, I started working in office jobs (reception, admin asst, etc.) while 'secretary' was in the process of being retired as a job title. I did temp jobs and a string of permanent positions in a variety of offices starting in the late 1980s. My current job is an IT faculty support position but it's in the same office where I did reception work for six years. The drawers and cabinets still have a few remnants of vintage office supplies. But we have gotten rid of all the carbon paper, paper checkout slips, and ink stamps that were still around when I started. A friend's first job on campus was driving punch cards from office to office. She shared a stack of the cards she keeps as a souvenir.

The end of 'nude' pantyhose. I'm cheating here, I didn't notice the moment but I am glad that my daughters aren't expected to wear stockings as an inevitable part of wearing a skirt or dress. I can conjure the sweaty feeling of pantyhose and the way it always cut into my waist. Every once in a while, I see a pale person with bare legs who is clearly cold and might actually benefit from some leg covering. 

'Hey FirstName' email salutation. I have a coworker who starts most of her emails with this. I don't like it but I know it's a language shift rather than rudeness. It feels too casually intimate to me so I tell my grown children not to use it with their instructors. Even 'Hi FirstName' still seems better to me. I suppose most of their instructors will be younger than I am and my kids will end up sounding stilted if they follow my advice. 



Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Less desirable funk

Fri 11/05 Guh. I interacted with an unhappy client today. He's unpleasant and doesn't want to work with me. I feel the same. I have attempted to palm him off on my supervisor, hopefully that will be adequate for all concerned. I am trying to get over feeling small and defeated. Updated: It took until after lunch but I came out of the funk. Palming off seems to have accomplished my goal.  

My oldest child has asked me to mail her newspaper crossword puzzles. I am delighted by this request, I'm going to try and get a few sent off to her today. Oldest is turning 20 on the 23rd of this month. A score of years! a fifth of a century! I'm going to claim her as an achievement even though I didn't whittle her from a block of stuff, she was more the leaping out, fully formed, sort. It's good to be fellow travelers with her on this slice of temporal reality.

Maybe she needs a full spectrum light while she's living in the lake effect zone. My youngest child hasn't asked for anything lately and that concerns me. Update: it's tech week for the high school musical and I was able to give her cash for food. L is doing sound/mics for this show and also working hours at the city Arts Center. After the h.s. show wraps she'll have rehearsals and perfs of the Kansas Nutcracker.  

We'll be figuring out our xmas travel plans this week. MIL wants to see us and we need to decide if we go to Austin or host her here. I ordered and received some cute toys for xmas for my nuclear family members. Spouse may be set. I want to find more small things for both girls. And Oldest is still a puzzle.