Did you know that August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month? That’s a “chronic condition that effects the stomach muscles, slowing down the process of emptying its contents into the small intestines — causing heartburn, upset stomach, vomiting, undigested food, feeling full quickly, and bloating.” Now I have had any and all of that my whole life. But how great that the gastroenterologists are using this as a PR campaign to get patients into the office for colonoscopies and GI checkups. A sign of the times.
Wasn’t August also originally famous in New York City for all the vacationing psychiatrists? Causing so many people to hit the wall and feel on the brink of breakdown till Labor Day. Why should this year be any different? So now it’s psyches and stomachs that rule the end of summer.
The other day a stranger yelled at me while I was struggling in a Safeway self-checkout line because I didn’t know how to weigh and scan peaches. She asked me if I was “retarded” (yes, really). I guess I’m just old and out of touch with the gadgets of today that “simplify life.” I love real supermarket “checkers” and I miss them now that so many are not returning to work. I am ready to hire a “personal self check-out” shopper to do all my big store staple shopping.
I have been ruined by Amazon’s “click and deliver” platform. Why would I want to know how to “self-checkout?” Yes, it’s a diva attitude. And I own it! I like talking to the market checkout person. Some days they are the only people I communicate with. But soon the “self-service” kiosks will be everywhere, in all capacities — not just McDonalds or Starbuck’s. I can’t wait to see when those automated machines freeze or breakdown … then what? ATM machines are bad enough.
I already noticed the lack of human contact service in hotels. Now I have to schlep my own luggage to my room. Bellmen are nonexistent. I have stopped traveling because I hate “rolling” luggage anywhere. I also hate having to set up my room with all various handheld electronic devices.
No one “introduces the room” to you upon arrival to adjust the temperature control, the lights, or offer a bucket of ice. Front desk clerks are gone as you can check in and check out via your phone. As for hotel security — if you fall in your hotel bathroom, just dial 911 on your Apple watch and good luck. Hotels used to be about service and luxe experiences, or any experience that gives me a break from fending for myself. Now, it’s no maids, no bellmen, no parking valets, no management. And all this for at least $500 a night. I have opted out of travel on this alone. My home TV has more stations, and my bed is better. My sheets are clean enough, and Siri is my concierge.
Obviously, everything has changed. Just think on the way we used to shop (not just “the way we were”). Now, when I wear a mask everything has to be done in a hurry. No cruising or chatting. I just want to leave. A mask keeps me in my own sad world of get in and get out.
Online is booming, but I often wonder what the world of “returns” really looks like. How are all those warehouses handling that avalanche. Honestly, I may be ordering more online, but I am also returning most of it. “Printed return label included” is all I look for on any shopping site. Because you can’t try things on, people are buying much more and not keeping most of it.
Sure, I miss in-person shopping, the whole dynamic of being with strangers and rack slapping together, with sales help giving narrative or annoying one-liners is a thing of the past. Browsing is a lost art. I don’t know what post-pandemic shopping will look like since I don’t favor the plan of stores becoming theme parks with waterfalls and roller coasters. Malls are bad enough with food courts and concerts. On the other hand, I will never get used to dealing with a virtual personal shopper. Again, I am out of touch.
Now I’m reading about the effects of price inflation. From gas to hotels to Nike sneakers and Chanel bags — the cost of producing and shipping everything is going sky high. So, customers will get hit hard. At the moment, they are distracted by post-lockdown shopping glee, but just wait till Fall.
Imagine, after a decade of discounts and overloaded inventory, companies now want to charge more and are assured the customers will pony up that extra $10 (or $5,000) for their favorite things. Let’s see how long that pandemic inflation can stay afloat. Viral surges won’t really change things; and shopping therapy might not be the best remedy in the long run. And this looks like the long run.
Currently, we are just entering viral exhaustion. Most people are learning to accept that viruses are here to stay, and a fact of life. I have been at my local Walgreens at least once a month for the last four months getting shots to be prepped for Covid, shingles, pneumonia and the ’21 flu by October. Walgreens has replaced Nordstrom in my life. And it’s better for one-stop shopping. Laxatives to flip flops to dog treats … who can ask for anything more. Oh, and plenty of checkout clerks.
I decided I liked being “out of touch” in this self-service world. And speaking of out of touch, thank God the “king of touchy feely” Andrew Cuomo has resigned as Governor. I couldn’t take another week with more women coming forward with their “gov grope” stories. Isn’t it amazing how immune and bored we have become with all these sexual “hit” cases. BUT, we should have gotten a clue when it was revealed awhile ago he had nipple rings. We still haven’t recovered from last week’s film montage he released as his defense — of him kissing and hugging celebrities, children, and civilians old and young (but no pets). He called his behavior “old man” style which he said he learned from his Mom and Dad (oh, how that ruined the Matilda and Mario gold standard brand).
Andrew Cuomo really thought this montage was a good idea pic.twitter.com/yTzzP9mdaD
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 3, 2021
I was an “old man style” person too. As a woman in the ’60s and ’70s, flirting inappropriately and going bra-less at the office was fun and de rigueur. Until I learned by the expressions on people’s faces that it was the WORST MESSAGE and completely embarrassing for everyone. And I wasn’t in a position of power, I was just young and stupid and didn’t understand the concept of “wrong place, wrong time.”
Now, the only “hands on” I do is with my dog Sunshine who insists on questionably lewd lower belly rubs four times a day. Should I worry about being reported to his trainer for inappropriate touching?
Last week I learned a great word that sums up our era. Gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of several Olympic events citing “twisties” as the reason for her withdrawal. Apparently, the twisties is a “sensation of fear, disorientation, and total loss of control in the air.” Pressure or stress can trigger it.
So now I ask you, aren’t we all struggling with the “twisties” of late? I am sure Governor Cuomo must be with his own giant impending “Heave-Ho” dismount.