A Day in the Life

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by St. Louis, May 17, 2014.

  1. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    St. Louis,
    you have also mentioned the non-giving up of the computer.
    It's a necessity.. and not only for my work (since I so often have to power-up my PC and continue work from home). The only way for me to reach out people with similar ideas and liking is by computer. Some things we can not leave out from our lives, since we must admit the horrid truth "life moves on"
    Delma likes this.
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I live in a small town -- it calls itself a city, but it's a small town -- which has been decimated by Wal Mart. Our downtown department store and five-and-ten were closed within a couple of years of Wally's arrival more than twenty years ago, and what we have now is a Main Street filled with tourist traps, trendy restaurants catering to people who aren't me, and art galleries. If I need to buy a pair of underpants, my choices are Wal-Mart or J. C. Penney. If I want to buy a spool of thread or some buttons, Wal-Mart is my only option, period.

    I've been in a Target once in my life. It's nothing more than Wal-Mart for people who think "People Of Wal-Mart" is funny.
  3. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    St. Louis, MO
    Yes! Exactly. Target prides itself on being cool, but it's a box store and, like WalMart, has been driving the smaller shops out of business. Same with Home Depot and its ilk. I feel a moral imperative to shop in my neighborhood as much as possible: it's better for me physically (b/c I walk to my errands) and it keeps the last few remaining local businesses alive. Or so I hope.

    My neighborhood would have been a thriving, lively, bustling little place about 50-60 years ago. It's not exactly big-city urban, because everyone has a front and back yard, but the houses are close enough together that I can hear my next-door-neighbor's washing machine. Most of the little shops are gone now, which is a real pity. I can still walk to the library, the hardware store, and the post office, but the grocery store is now a big chain. There's a very expensive, chic, ultra-self-impressed fancy whole foods grocery store nearby, which I can't patronize on my salary. If I don't want to shop at a chain (let alone WalMart or Target) then I couldn't find a bar of soap, a spool of thread, a pair of shoelaces, or a gallon of vinegar anywhere.

    This change has happened within the last thirty years or so, hasn't it? I recall when I was a teenager, being sent out for thread or flour or whatever my mother needed, and being able to find it within walking distance at smallish local stores. Though now that I say that, I think the "smallish local stores" were Woolworth's and the A & P, both of which are obviously chains. So maybe I'm wrong. I just remember them as small stores that I could navigate without becoming overwhelmed.

    All this is to say that I miss the quality of daily life during those decades (both my own early years and the decades before I was born) but I'm in no way a reactionary. I'm very happy and relieved that I was able to pursue my education, as did my mother before me, who earned her GED and then went on to become a nurse while I was in high school. I'm on my computer all day long (I really should be working right now, btw) and I agree completely with Stray Cat that I wouldn't have anyone to talk to re: golden era daily life (or similar) without a computer.
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I live in what's still a working-class neighborhood which so far has kept the gentrifiers out -- it helps that there's a junkyard on the other side of the block that scares them off -- but the town in general is overrun with them. We pretty much lost our working-class base here when the fishing and fish-processing industries were killed off in the '80s and early '90s, and the gentrification crowd jumped all over the carcass to turn the place into this zombified idea of what a "quaint but funky Maine town" is supposed to be like. These people go on and on about how great it is to live in Maine and how lucky they are to have moved here, blah blah blah, and then they're shocked when I tell them my family's lived here for four generations. (I'm almost considered a native.) And that we got along just fine without art galleries, boutiques, fusion cuisine or free wi-fi.

    So we smile and grit our teeth and take their money, but inside we're seething. The world we knew is gone, and we're little more than props in their privileged middle-class fantasy of what Maine is supposed to be like. Blech.
  5. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I see many similarities here.
    We, too have lost our spirit; but ours was the fruit and vegetable industry that went under... and dragged many lives with it.
    I managed perfectly fine, like yourself, without boutiques, without galleries and malls... only thing I do miss is the lack of cinema (we had a brief rejuvenation about 10 years ago, but it's gone again)
    But - what in the world is a "fusion cuisine"?! [huh]
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We, at least, have our downtown theatre (of which I'm the manager) so at least there's one thing to do downtown at night that doesn't involved swilling liquor or picking at overpriced food.

    "Fusion cuisine" is trendy fare which selfconsciously mixes different kinds of ethnic food -- lutefisk tacos, for example -- is served in very small overdecorative portions by a supercilious waiter in a black turtleneck, and the bill leaves you with indigestion.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  7. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Now that I've read this - I'm glad we don't have it *here* (it may exist in the cities, since there are lot of those petit-bourgeois folks out there - but they are nothing more than my ex neighbors who fled this scene and pretend they can "wash the small-town smell off" as they like to say).
    I like my small-town smell.
    As a matter of fact, I drove my cycle to the village next to my town this afternoon, to visit a colleague and see their town-fair. I had a good ride (about 10 miles altogether), good ice-cream and great fun. Nothing "smelly" there, Mr "I'm too good to stick around".
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    That's exactly it. We get a lot of people who were small fry in the city coming here figuring they can be big fish in a small town. No thanks.

    I don't partake of any of the bourgeois attractions around here. Every Tuesday afternoon after the matinee one of the gals from work and I go out for a hamburger and then take a drive around the peninsula and maybe walk around one of the beaches for a bit. I keep a pair of sneakers in the trunk in case we decide to do some serious hiking.
  9. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    I live in a small college town of less than 4,000. We rely on a fair amount of tourism (as this is an usual oasis of liberalism in a sea of mostly...not. So we're a novelty stare-at-the-natives destination place). So there are shops that cater to tourists (gift shops, galleries, higher end restaurants etc).

    But we've also managed to keep our local independent theater, our our own independent family owned grocery, and we have non-chain salons, bookstores, toy store, plumbers, dry cleaners, laundromat and pharmacy. Until recently, we also had an independent hardware store, but it was bought out as a Do-it-Best franchise. It remains largely unchanged inside though.

    It's a conscious decision by the community to try and keep those businesses local. I'm really fortunate, I know. We both work in town, too, so no commute. And since you can bike and walk around comfortably it's rare we go outside our bubble into the surrounding sprawl-towns with their box stores and that's always a jarring experience. We like to stay here. It seems more and more insane "out there" when we venture beyond town limits...I really don't relate to it well.
  10. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I find this whole discussion very interesting about place. I grew up outside a tiny village (less than 200 people). We had a grocery store, a butcher, hairstylists (both sexes), three bars (one a bowling hall, all served food), two diners, a pizza place, etc. I guess I had never thought of that as unusual. It wasn't a large place, but it supported all that business because it was 12 miles to the next town, and people lived in those miles. And places like supercuts don't come to tiny villages, and the city is too far away. So a lot of that has stayed.

    When I was 18, I moved to Ithaca. Perhaps this is my impression, but at the time Ithaca was somewhat of a throw back to the 1960s and 1970s. Tons of small local businesses. A thriving downtown (something that other places in upstate don't tend to have, unless they are tourist traps. Ithaca wasn't and still isn't a tourist trap) with a pedestrian mall- something I haven't seen work anyplace else this cold. It was an extremely liberal place that was filled with ex-hippies. If you met someone over the age of 40, you could likely get some good stories about living in a commune, marching against something or other, etc.

    It was a place that had it's own money (Ithaca Dollars) and it's own healthcare insurance (Ithaca Health Cooperative). They also fought Walmart for 15 years. For 15 years, select people in the government and public kept Walmart at bay.

    Then they lost.

    In the past 9 years since I have moved, they now have the following stores that they never had before: Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Linens and things, Applebees, Chipolte, Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. There is a whole section of the city that used to be wetland beyond the grocery store- now it is streets and streets of big box stores. Stores I have never heard of. Ithaca is also expanding as far as development of houses. My husband used to rent a house before we married that was "miles from nowhere" outside the city- there are now McMansions all the way up to it and surrounding it. Now they are tearing down old houses up by the university to build expensive apartments for students.

    I don't know- it's just *changed.* The natural earthy funk that made Ithaca, well, Ithaca, has become sort of manufactured. There's still local business, but the tone of the city has changed. It's become yuppified. Ithacans used to be a group of bike riding, independent coffee shop drinking, local bakery bagel eating hippies. Now they're a bunch of people running around driving SUVs, drink starbucks, and shopping at Walmart yuppies. It is not that the people who lived there have really changed, it is just that there has been such an influx of other people that the original culture has been changed.

    And it makes me more than a little sad. I do think that the introduction of the box stores have changed the culture, and it is not for the better. :(
  11. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Many young folks over here constantly complain about not being able to partake in "city-like" activities over here. But, they to party like there's no tomorrow - our small town is packed with bars and taverns. On a Saturday evening (scratch that: it's Saturday night, since they don't leave home before 23:00, that 11 PM) they leave their homes dressed unlike me, and heat to get their throats coated with ethyl-alcohol.
    I am not able to keep up with them, since I'm more than asleep in the time they leave their homes.

    I have a strange sensation we're heading that way. :doh:

    I know this, it's exactly what it's like in here.
    Whatever the distance, you *can* manage it on a bicycle. Even the villages around our town are on the reasonable distance. Sure, the real reason for cycling around here is the sky-high price of dizel and gasoline, that most people who live here can not afford.
    If you are up for a shopping, unfortunately, you must pack-up, sit on a bus and take a 30 minute ride to the city, where I usually get a massive crowd-shock while I struggle to find anything in that overpopulated place. I'm not used to so much people in the street.
    Darn - I'm not used to any people in the street. Most of our folks are too busy to be simply strolling around.

    ..or so we thought.
    They did come - even over here, they do that.
    Fortunately, not many of them has came. We still prefer going to our local grocery-stores, our small hair salons. The only thing we truly lost is the butcher's shop.
    There used to be a lot of little shops, where you could buy fresh, good quality, home grown meat.Then the shops came and swallowed-up all the small ones. Big shops that have a lot of law-suits against them, since they do like to import meat from EU countries that has spent some *long* time in the freezers.
    Therefor, some of us (my family included), grow our own pigs. That is the only way to assure the food safety.

    I know. :nod:
    It's devastating. I have the feeling I'm being told to "hurry up" and keep up with the times, and I don't like those "times"
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    It's the same way here -- pretty much the only thing to do downtown at night, besides see a movie, is to drink, drink, drink. Alcoholism is rampant here, and it's not just old derelicts. You'll see The Best People come stumbling out of the bars in the wee hours, and everybody thinks it's cute. Open up another bar! We don't have enough!

    One thing the people from away brought with them is the normalization of a culture of intoxication. We certainly had drunks in the before-time, but drunkenness was considered a shameful thing. You felt pity for drunks, you wanted to help them and their families, but you certainly didn't feel pressured to jump right in and join the fun. Now, if you don't drink, you're a freak, an anomaly, a dried-up old fun-killer.

    And if the booze is bad, the normalization of drug culture that goes right along with it is thousands of times worse. We've got far too many people who will argue that drugs are bad only if they're the "wrong kind of drugs."

    Interesting historical fact: in 1939, 42 per cent of Americans didn't drink alcohol at all. The Era has this cocktail-shaker image for a lot of people, but in reality, Prohibition profoundly changed American drinking habits. It wasn't until the 1970s that alcohol consumption in the US returned to pre-Prohibition levels.
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  13. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    The scary truth, Lizzie. :nod:
    This is once seen as a destructive behaviour that threatens our civilisation; nowadays is not only "normal", but it's also advertised by ever-so-popular *dreadful!* reality-shows. The deviant, the outrageous, the creepy - those are the "norms" of today.
    And I, for one, find it a reason enough to stay away from Today's dealings.

    Interesting social fact: in my country - women drink more than men. [huh]
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Along those same lines, it's unfortunate that it's almost impossible to find a non-fast-food restaurant where alcohol isn't on the menu. Lunchrooms and family-type restaurants in the Era didn't serve beer or wine, let alone hard liquor, but just about any place you go today that doesn't have a plastic clown out front has a beer and wine list right there on the table when you sit down. Which is an unfortunate thing when you or the person you're with is not supposed to drink for medical reasons, or simply wants to avoid the temptation of the atmosphere of drinking.
  15. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    St. Louis, MO
    So true. I have a relative suffering from Hep C (sustained while working in a hospital) and it's nearly impossible to avoid even denatured alcohol in restaurants. Alcohol sales are of course the single most reliable indicator of any restaurant's success. I really see this as part of a bigger problem: the fact that nutritional goals are routinely subordinated to the almighty dollar. We all know that the obesity epidemic is directly linked to the salt-grease-sugar combination perfected by popular fast food joints, who arrived at this irresistible & highly addictive combo through extensive and expensive research.

    Give me an old-fashioned macaroni-and-cheese blue plate special any day. Actually, now that I say that, I have to admit that I recently ordered mac-and-cheese and received a plate of overcooked elbow macaroni with some pale tasteless glop poured on top. How have the mighty fallen.
  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The only restaurant mac-and-cheese I'd ever eat was the kind they used to serve at the Howard Johnson's. That was the only kind that even came close to home-made quality. I'm not even going to consider these twee "New American Food" restaurants that serve you mac and cheese made with weird ethnic cheese for $17 a plate.

    If I ever strike it rich I'm going to open "Lizzie's Temperance Lunch." Authentic American Golden Era lunchroom food with no booze, no irony, no corn syrup, and no attitude.
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  17. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Sounds clean, conservative and effective - I'd come. :nod:

    I've been reading some old newspapers from October 1922.
    The topic was: "Fight the expensiveness"
    Here's the quote (the translation):
    One one side you have the socieaty of 100 to 200 people (meaning: cooperative), that longs to make a managable existence, that longs to find the affordable groceries; it's the same society that has everyday struggle to send their children to school, to dress and feed the; with the various range of worries and the line of humble needs, fighting to push the poverty away from their homes - and, on the other side you have the Associate Banks that dictates to these humble people: the price of bread, the price od shugar and lard.
    I hope this translaion was clear.
    So, when taliking about "a day in the life" - these were the worries.
    A constant struggle.
  18. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Oh, day in my life - today:
    1. first thing first - have some dairy product
    2. while the heat is still low - yank the weeds out of flower-beds
    3. breakfast and coffee
    4. Since this is a special day: visiting the cemetery; then some grocery shopping (it's Saturday - a day for that)
    5. helping with the lunch; having lunch
    6. unbearable heat (30°C, that's about 86F) prevents outdoor work, so some stitching was done; finishing up some kitchen work, and getting the last of cherries in the freezer.
    7. freshly picked pea was delivered, 15 kilograms (33 pounds) - prepping them, meaning getting them out of their pods by hand, measuring the seeds, getting them bagged-up and ready for the freezing.
    8. preparing supper
    9. watering garden.
    10. --was supposed to be "going out" - event that suppose to start at 23:00; but due to the fact that that is past my bed-time; I believe this is where I "call it a day".


    What about a day in your life?
  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    This was my day this past Thursday:

    1. 630 AM -- Wake up, brush teeth with jar of drinking water, go to bathroom in pail. I'd had no running water or toilets since Sunday night, when the sewer main on our street shifted and backed up its contents into my cellar. Septic guy is due at 7 to finish pumping it out.

    2. 645 AM -- Feed cat. Put the kettle on for tea, cook two pork sausages and an egg for breakfast. Get dressed in a hurry so septic man won't be shocked by the sight of my raggedy bathrobe.

    3. 7AM -- Septic guy arrives, make small talk with him about various stimulating topics while he pumps the goo out of my cellar. Landlord arrives to continue cutting out the old, plugged-up drainpipes.

    4. 8 AM -- Wash breakfast dishes in dishpan using hose in the driveway. Dump dirty water -- and contents of pail -- over fence into junkyard.

    5. 830 AM -- Go to work to begin preparing for day's HD presentation of the Bolshoi Ballet. Make sure there are no smudges of sludge visible on my person.

    6. 11 AM -- Hear sirens and commotion out in street. Go out on the sidewalk to see entire block is cordoned off. Cop in riot gear orders me to get back into the building. Ten minutes later, cop bangs on door and demands that my co-worker and I evacuate the building immediately. A suspicious abandoned canvas bag has been reported on the sidewalk between the bank and the theater. Swear at cop and declare I got a show in an hour, and I can't be evacuated. Cop insists. I grant his point and comply.

    7. 1130 AM. Coworker and I stand on sidewalk rubbernecking as state bomb squad arrives. Cop orders us to move back to the next block. Arrive at next block. Cop orders us back to another block. Enter nearby building, climb to roof, and stand on rooftop trying to see what the hell is going on. Theatre is wrapped in crime scene tape. Investigators surround canvas bag. Tourists are frustrated. An old lady with a walker is harassed. Cop spots us on roof and yells at us to get off. Swear at him and comply.

    8. 12 noon. Random hippy-looking character shambles onto scene, talks with cop. Cop summons police chief and tactical supervisor. A rushed conversation. Hippy admits that he'd left his lunch bag next to the garbage can because he was tired of carrying it around. Hippy shakes hands with police chief. Cop begins unwrapping crime scene tape. I really have to pee.

    9 1pm. Arrive back at theatre. Baffled looking elderly woman is standing out front wondering why the box office isn't open yet.

    10. 2pm. Ballet begins. Sit in projection booth watching levels and write 1500 word article about 1950s radio cop show for my other job.

    11. 5pm. Ballet ends. Rush back up to house to feed cat and bring in the mail. Get soaked to the skin by rain. Find note from landlord that pipes are now clear. Celebrate by flushing toilet six times and pretending I'm in a five-star hotel. Eat boloney, salami, and ham sandwich.

    12. 6pm. Box office opens for second screening of Ballet.

    13. 7pm. Second screening of ballet begins.

    14. 10pm. Ballet ends. Make sure nobody's died in the restrooms and go home.

    15. 1015 pm. Eat half a tub of large-curd cottage cheese.

    16. 1030pm. Flush toilet five more times. Marvel at the luxury of indoor plumbing.

    17. 1045pm. Change into flannel nightgown. Feed cat. Go to bed.
  20. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Good grief, Lizzie. You earned your stripes that day.

    Can't help but be curious at what colorful phrase in particular you got away with. Since the rest of your tale wasn't set in jail. ;)

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