Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday morning random

* I had read about "convenience" stores ("konbini") in Japan before, and about how they're more a desirable/community thing than such stores are in the US (for example: some provide a meeting place for people, some even check on the elderly or infirm to be sure they're okay). This is another story about them.

The biggest thing that struck me about the story: "Lawson," apparently in some locations known as "Lawson Station." This is the descendant (a few times removed; I think there have been bankruptcies and re-buying of the name) of the Lawson dairy stores I grew up with in northeast Ohio in the 1970s. And it just seems jarring to me every time I run across it in one of these's almost as if someone you knew as a kid and thought had died shows back up again, but they've had plastic surgery and have been in the Witness Relocation Program for a number of years..

(One tiny quibble: many of the Ohio locations of Lawson were not "rural." We were perhaps best described as a "bedroom community" for Akron or Cleveland. Not really any true farms around us)

Oooh....maybe Doki Doki Crate will do a future crate on konbini and they will include some Lawson swag? That would be particularly meaningful to me. (I have heard a Lawson opened in Hawaii - because of the high rate of Japanese tourism there - and maybe I heard they were thinking about opening some on the West Coast? It would be exceptionally weird to see Lawson's return to the States, only this time under the aegis of a Japanese owner. Well, it would be weird to me, because I know the history - not weird to most people).

But the typeface used for the signs is the same (if that's a Japanese Lawson shown in the story, and not an old photo of an Ohio one). And they use the same sky-blue and white color scheme I remember:

Okay, it wasn't called "Lawson Station" then (and that's a slightly odd syntax; Lawson was the name of the family that ran it), but the logo is almost the same and the colors are the same.

(If I ever have cause to go back to Hawaii, and I am somewhere where there is a Lawson, I am going, and if they have t-shirts, I am buying one. Because.)

It's funny - there are a lot of aspects of my youth I'd rather leave behind because they weren't so happy (especially junior high school) but there are things that can make me deeply nostalgic. I remember exactly where the Lawson's in my town was, how it was a funny little narrow store with the walls almost entirely taken up by (as I remember) cooler cases for the milk and ice cream and refrigerated dips and stuff.

* It's easy for me to "miss" random things or make them symbolic of having left a place behind. Back the first or second year after I moved here, I was home for Thanksgiving break and went out to the grocery with my mom, and I started crying when I saw the boxes of Creamette pasta, simply because it was a familiar brand, I couldn't get it here, and none of the brands I COULD get seemed the same. (This was back when I was frantically prepping 2 or 3 new classes and getting to shop in Sherman MAYBE once every six weeks, and so, relying on the old Winn-Dixie (long since closed) for almost everything).

One of the other things about living here/having less time: I find I wind up having to "accept" brands of things (like pasta) I don't maybe like as well, because nowhere local sells what I mom talks about driving to three or four groceries, sometimes, in her rounds, to get the best deals/get the brands she wants and that just feels like such a luxurious thing to me. To have the choice of more than one brand of organic milk! To be able to get a "different" pasta shape than the three or four the wal-mart has deemed the only ones necessary.

And yes, I get that that's the First Worldiest of First World Problems....but I also think of the film footage I saw back in the 1980s of the dying Soviet Union, and the very few items to choose from on the shelves, and the old women lining up for four hours for a sack of potatoes, and I twitch a little. (That's why I will argue with anyone who claims we have "too many choices" and the number of brands should be pared back)

* Someone needs to talk to these 18-20 year olds. I came in this morning to a message from one of my advisees - this person wants to meet with me TODAY. The message was sent late in the evening yesterday. I have already planned out my day for getting stuff done and while I did list two fifteen-minute slots when I maybe could advise, I'm not happy about it. (I guess, sigh, I will have to be the one to bring up the topic). I don't expect to get in to see my doctor with less than 24 hours notice! (even though once or twice I have managed to get a next-day appointment)

I've laid down the law in my classes that I need a minimum of 24 hours notice before someone meets with me except during my open office hours....and even then, I've said if I'm in the middle of research I may have to ask the person to wait 10 minutes. I still get people doing stuff like this, where they e-mail me at 8 pm and expect me to e-mail them right back with an appointment less than 15 hours away from that time.

Newsflash: I'm old, I need my sleep and relaxation time. I do not live tethered to a smartphone. You e-mail me after 3 or 4 pm, you'll hear back the next day. If it's urgent, too bad, so sad.

And yeah. Part of this IS me "being old." I remember the 1970s. I remember when if someone wasn't home when you called them on the (corded, and back then, even rented-from-A T and T) phone, you tried again later on - you didn't leave a message, you didn't get call forwarding. For doctors and the like there were answering services and towards the end of my childhood beepers came in for folks like doctors and police special agents I've said before, I think in the future the real luxury will be being able to live NOT tethered to the needs of the people you work for, of being able to take a weekend day and just GO somewhere without having to answer a lot of questions or virtually file TPS reports while you're there. They don't pay me enough, and I am not important enough, to be required to respond that fast to people. And I think there IS some value in training the immediate-communication generation that some people prefer NOT to "roll that way."

* Anyway. My mid-fall break starts tomorrow and wow do I need it. What I am looking forward to these four days:

 - Sleeping as late as I need to (My allergies have flared up again and I need more sleep when my allergies are bad). I can work in the workouts later on in the day

- Getting to Whitesboro tomorrow, going yarn shopping, going to the quilt shop even though it's been a long time since I even touched my sewing machine,  going to antique stores, getting lunch out somewhere (Lovejoy's isn't serving but I know there are restaurants in Sherman).

- Doing "big" grocery shopping in Sherman, and being able to do it on a day when the whole world isn't out shopping. And getting to the natural foods store. And doing all of this at a time when I don't have one eye on the clock.

- Taking Friday and maybe clearing up my sewing room a little and maybe getting back to the long-stalled quilt top. (Well, I will also have to run in here and check on my plants, but that's okay)

- Seeing Laura and surprise-guest-friend-who-is-also-coming-along Saturday, going to a fun museum, going to Stitches N Stuff, getting another lunch out, PERHAPS getting to a big Books a Million and Michael's if there is time.

- Being on my own schedule instead of someone else's for a couple days, and not having the whole, "Yeah, I know it's late in the evening but I really need to meet with you some time tomorrow so could you rearrange your whole schedule for me?" requests.

* There's a story - possibly not true, possibly a hoax, who knows any more - making the rounds about a waitress (a single, childless woman) getting a "note" from some customers effectively telling her "God says your place is in the home, not out working, and you're setting a terrible example for your children."

If people actually did this - if this is not a hoax, or not people doing it to troll and pretend to be Christians doing something that is actually pretty un-Christian in my book - well, that's just another thing that makes me sad about people.

You need to walk a mile in someone's shoes. The point is made that this woman is, like I am, single and childless: if she didn't work, she'd have to either rely on family to support her, or rely on the state to support her. I don't think either of those options is preferable to someone going out and earning a living. And even IF she did have a husband and kids, what's to say HE was working? I had two aunts who had husbands that wound up disabled beyond the  point of being able to work, so my aunts had to go to work to support the family. Or maybe her husband works at a job that doesn't bring in enough money to keep a family afloat - unfortunately that is all too often the case these days.

And you know? There are times to speak and times to keep silent and I kinda think berating a person serving you in this way is a time to keep silent. Maybe it's because I've seen enough cases in my life where I was TEMPTED to say something to someone about behaving irresponsibly, but (fortunately) before I did, I learned "the rest of the story" and it was a case of someone doing absolutely everything to hold stuff together and not quite making it (e.g., the woman in my class who missed a few classes and it turned out she was the ONLY caretaker for an aunt who was in hospice and had lots of doctor's appointments, and ALSO this aunt was my student's only remaining family....and I learned this all from a reliable third party, so I know it wasn't just a story, and boy was I glad I didn't say anything to the student)

Maybe I'm oversensitive because I'm a single woman myself and everything is 100% on me in terms of paying my bills, keeping my life together, and even planning for an eventual retirement, but I'd probably break down in big ugly tears if someone pulled this stunt on me. And yeah, for me, the whole "You're not responsible enough and not fulfilling your Socially Expected Role" is one of my buttons for a lot of reasons, and so that kind of a comment would hurt more than it should and would be very hard for me to dismiss.

Like I said: it's entirely possible the people were trolling, and if they were doing it to make "Christians" look bad, shame on them for that. Most of us don't roll that way, and I would daresay those of us who pay attention to what the Founder of our faith was saying wouldn't do this kind of thing to a person - IT'S NOT LOVING. You can correct someone in a loving way if necessary but this is just laying a load of guilt and pain on someone....

I dunno. People frustrate me and I confess I'm hoping this is either a hoax, or the people who did this actually did it to besmirch Christianity, and not that they were actual Christians who think this is a way to guide someone in life.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Lawson Station t-shirt - here ya go: