Sunday, August 30, 2020

Tuning Out The News

 Many of my coworkers, friends and acquaintances across the political spectrum have joined me in tuning out national and local television news, many newspapers, radio stations, a significant amount of social media ( particularly Twitter), professional sports, info-tainment, and any medium that creates  more divisiveness and angst in this year of COVID, social upheaval, and polarized politics. It is just too exhausting. My husband withdrew from Facebook because he found it too agitating. 

Nobody I know watched or at least admitted to watching any of the political conventions. Why bother! It is all propaganda from the left or the right. Who would have imagined that in 2020 Americans would be left with the option to vote for an addled old white man vs an obnoxious old white man? At least it would be entertaining to watch a race between Nikki Haley and AOC. 

The protests are new to young Americans. However, those of us who were alive when Detroit and LA burned in the ‘60s have concluded the unrest is cyclical. Watch some video of Chicago during the 1968 Democrat convention. 

So, many of us over 40 are tuning out, watching home renovation shows, hoping the stock market stays bullish, listening to audio books, reading novels, avoiding urban areas, thankful for telecommuting, and the freedom to switch it off! I feel more calm, peaceful and serene and will stick the The Babylon Bee for some satire that makes me laugh,  look at cat memes and old Far Side cartoons on Facebook, and occasionally poke a tiger for some random fun.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Indy 500 - Ends On Yellow Flag - Par for 2020


Of course! In the year of COVID -19, the Indy 500 had to conclude on a yellow flag. There will always be an asterisk on Takuma Sato’s second victory. But let’s face it, 2020 is a year of asterisks. Watching sporting events on TV in 2020 with empty stadiums, eerily vacant bleachers, silent environments without cheering crowds, altered seasons, postponed dates, or compressed schedules feels dystopian to the same extent that cities without vibrant citizenry ( with exception, of course, of ‘peaceful unmasked protesters’) looks and feels somewhat post apocalyptic- as if a neutron bomb exploded, denuded the universe of humans, and left empty skyscrapers. 

If it were only feasible to hit the reset button on 2020 and start over..... but NOT  a la Groundhog Day, PLEASE! Reset with the knowledge we have today and our loved ones safely at home, alive and well. 

Yes,I know from the lessons I’ve learned that we are all where we are meant to be today. ...according to the Universe, the God of our understanding, our higher power. This is our 21st Century plague. Hello, Charles Darwin! COVID in aisle 12!! We are NOT amused. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

In Store Retail Therapy Is No Longer Therapeutic Thanks to COVID-19


It is no secret that I have indulged in retail therapy for decades in my quest to support the US economy (of course) and to give myself that little boost of joy that comes from shopping. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s I roamed the various shopping malls in Indianapolis, Plano, St.Louis, Dallas, Hong Kong, Chicago, Palo Alto, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. During my time in Plano, Texas I may have spent as much time at the recently demolished Collin Creek Mall as anywhere else in the vicinity. 

Over the last 15 years my love of malls disintegrated and I've migrated to boutiques and online shopping. After the gloriously independent department stores such as L.S. Ayres, Blocks, Lazarus, Marshall Fields, Foley's, Joske's, Woodward & Lothrop, Wanamaker's, Jordan Marsh, Famous-Barr, Sanger- Harris, Hechts, Strawbridge, I.Magnin, Filene's, Parisian, Gump's, Garfinkel's, and Jacobson's closed or were gobbled up by Federated and May Company,   the remaining or consolidated department stores all sold the same clothes and housewares.  And much of the merchandise on offer is of significantly lower quality, such as the  Tools of the Trade stainless steel pans I bought at Macy's (when it was really Macy's) in 1985 that I still use today.It is a big yawn. 

COVID-19 will change the retail landscape yet again. Here is a link to a Moneywise article detailing the retail establishments that are closing permanently as a result of the virus:

After my experience this morning, which is the first time I've entered a store other than a grocery store, WalMart, Target, Petco, Lowes or Home Depot since March 14th, I plan to stick with online shopping. The store was packed with merchandise marked down 70% because customers had no place to wear new clothes over the summer (although I do dress professionally and wear makeup for Zoom calls). The dressing rooms are large, private, and could allow for one customer in every other cubicle; however, only one customer was allowed in the dressing rooms at a time. Only one cash register was open. It wasn't fun. It was frustrating. Instead of retail therapy, it was just one more inconvenient example of how drastically our world has changed since March. 

It appears as of the rules are applied inconsistently to different segments of the retail industry. Whole Foods in Indianapolis was buzzing with activity and minimal social distancing last week. But independent restaurants are prohibited from serving at their bars - even with stools separated by 6 feet. Boutiques are struggling. But state run liquor stores have remained open. 

So, I'll shop from my comfy leather chair with my cat on my shoulders and my laptop on my curled up legs while sipping ice tea or coffee or a nice Cabernet and wait eagerly for a delivery from FedEx, UPS or the USPS - instead of the Wells Fargo wagon of yore. At least my favorite local winery, Rappahannock Cellars,  offered free shipping during COVID !