Tuesday, September 05, 2017

out and about

So, mid afternoon, while working on the name-verifications I realized something: (and there are enough spelling errors in this thing, and the ITIS website is literal-minded enough, that if it's an unfamiliar-to-me species that's misspelled, I hit a wall and have to do a websearch on it)

Oh crud. The AAUW salad supper is Thursday. And I forgot to get what I needed to make my salad on Saturday, because the store was full of arguing couples and families, and I wound up forgetting a LOT of stuff.

No problem, I thought, I'll run to Pruett's, they should have everything I need including a jicama.


I was pretty sure Green Spray wouldn't, and as I was already half way to wal-mart....well, even though it was 4 pm and shopping at wal-mart at 4 pm goes against my better judgment, I went.

Guys, I think I got the last jicama in town. There was literally one left in the bin. And there were LOTS of empty produce bins. Lots of empty shelves, too. I can't tell if this is the typical aftermath of a long holiday weekend (and the first of the month) and wal-mart's decidedly lackadaisical restocking strategies, or if we might be seeing some v. specific shortages because trucking has been disrupted by Harvey. (And, Irma bar the door- if it doesn't weaken before hitting Florida, it's going to be REALLY bad, perhaps even worse than Harvey. At least in terms of wind damage)

(On second thought - the few moments I was in Pruett's, they seemed pretty well-stocked, so it's probably just wal-mart being wal-mart. Ugh. We either badly need the Pruett's remodel, or we need another big supermarket in town)

I also had another thought - it was 4 pm, it was loud, it was crowded. And there were TONS of people looking down at their smartphones. (I had to dodge a couple of them - they were walking and not looking, one person BACKING UP their cart and not looking). And I realized something: Maybe the smartphone, where you're dinking on Facebook or whatever, is a sort of anesthetic for experiences like this?  And the reason I find things like wal-mart so awful at crowded times is that I don't have that buffer between me and reality, so it's kinda like having a tooth drilled without Novocaine?

I don't know.

I realize that that's one very specific way in which I am sort of effete - the "aesthetic quality" and the like of my daily experiences matters to me. It gets me down if I have to go somewhere that is loud, and over-brightly-lit, and has people arguing, and where I have to stand in a long line, and doesn't have the brands I like, and all that. Oh, I can tough it out but DANG if we had something like a Fresh Market, that would be where my paycheck went - where there is soft lighting and classical music instead of ads on the PA and things are attractively displayed....We'll never get one; I was looking at some online mapping tool that did things like show per capita income and the like and now I understand why we don't have any fancier grocery stores in my part of the state and that OKC is probably the nearest place with anything "fancy" (well, within the state - Dallas is a BIT nearer but still not near enough for my taste).

But I also wonder: if people didn't have smartphones, if they had to look up and experience the full catastrophe of what public interaction has become, might they not.....decide to be better? To yell at their kids less, to avoid the risk of running into a fellow patron with their cart, to stop trying to jump the lines? I don't know. But it was a bit of an epiphany: maybe it's not as "awful" for these folks as I am experiencing it because they have their Invisible Internet Friends.

That doesn't mean I'm gonna go out and get a smartphone, or even when I do (because I'm sure it will be a "when" rather than an "if" - all it would take would be one place I have to do business with going to some kind of "you must do everything paperless via your smartphone" model), I don't see myself being a wal-mart zombie, staring down at a screen and figuring everyone else will get out of my way because I'm Special.

(Any more, I wonder if my parents' raising me to believe I was no more special than anyone else on this earth did me a disservice, in the Brave New Tragedy of the Commons world we inhabit....)

At any rate: I have my darn jicama and I'm home, but I have grading and piano practice to do....

1 comment:

Lynn said...

If you see me looking at my smartphone in a store I'm probably looking at my shopping list or looking at a recipe to see what I need.