Saturday, September 6, 2014

Staycation Review, First Draft Complete, Grocery Gripe

To my dismay, my staycation is coming to an end this weekend. Here’s what I did: Read an entire novel in one day, got panhandled by a hungry llama at the Olympic Game Farm, took a trip to Port Townsend and decided I am going to move there immediately and become a career eccentric, got a long over-due massage and a long-overdue eye exam, had lunch with a co-worker smack in the middle of the day, leveled my new Khajiit rogue in Elder Scrolls Online, worked out, ate out, and slept in until 8:00 a.m. every morning. I don’t know how I’m going to go back to work, because obviously, I don’t have time for a job.

The other thing I did was finally, finally complete the first, extremely messy draft of my novel! (Cue triumphant air horns, confetti, cheering crowds.) I was amazed at how much I was able to get done simply through virtue of having long stretches of time and an abundance of mental energy to focus on it. I know that the traditional advice for writers is to write every day, but that’s never worked for me. I don’t like writing in short bursts; I need long blocks of time in order to get into the “groove” or flow state or whatever it is that allows my unconscious to move the story along. My job sucks every ounce of mental and emotional energy out of me, so trying to write on weeknights is impossible. I have no will left at the end of an eight-hour day. It was liberating to have a five-day block in which to ponder and write for the full day.

Now I have to get something off my chest. It’s been bothering me for a long time. At first I first I thought it was just me, and this annoyance was an illusion stemming from my general irritability with the world, but no. This is real, people. Having worked every McJob ever, I don’t want to turn into the sort of person who complains about service workers, but…can we all just agree to go back to the days when there was an actual method to grocery bagging? The last year or so, I’ve noticed that baggers have dropped all conceit of technique and now just throw everything into bags completely at random. This usually results in two gallons of milk, a box of wine (it's organic, so stop judging me), three glass jars of spaghetti sauce and an entire case of Coke in one bag, leaf lettuce and a two-pack of pens in another bag, and canned goods thunked unceremoniously on top of the fragile packages of steak and salmon. And half the time, they just leave items out of the bags altogether to fend for themselves like orphans on the bottom of the cart. Every single time I grocery shop, I now need to park my cart in the lot, remove all the groceries, and re-bag everything myself. What happened to taking pride in your work? What happened to enjoying the small satisfaction of knowing that you efficiently and neatly bagged your customer’s groceries, ensuring that weight was distributed evenly throughout the bags, the eggs were on top, and the meat remained unmolested by cans?

I can’t prove it, but I suspect this behavior is somehow a result of the cloth grocery bag revolution. My theory is not yet fully formed, but I shall posit it in detail when it is.

On a cheerier note, here are some pictures of Port Townsend, and a zebra, and a shameless snack-hustling llama. 

--Kristen McHenry

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