Friday, October 15, 2021

The fall of 24/7 America


It does seem unwholesome to complain, in a First World Problems sort of way, but America is falling apart. And I thought I should mention it. 

A co-worker, from Thailand, was sharing an amusing story about how a restaurant in Thailand remained open during a flood. It was very popular during the flood, and the guests seemed to enjoy the adventure and danger around the whole thing. My Thai co-worker was terribly amused by it.

I was just a little jealous.

"We used to have gumption like that in America!" I cried.

Open during a flood, ha! 

I'm not saying we shouldn't have closed down for the pandemic, or that we shouldn't be careful now as we limp into, if not quite the end of the Pandemic, more like the Pandemic's new ragged permanence. But I am a little bit freaking out about all the local coffee shops, cocktail bars, and cafes, the ones that have bothered to reopen at all, only being open for 12 hours a week. I am a little concerned about 



But who are these people? Were all these small shop and cafe owners and local foodies just running bistros for fun? Were they all so rich they realized they can merely work 12 hours a week if they want and if someone wants to go out on, say, a Wednesday, they can just suck it? Or have all these clever, industrious shop owners gone to work as Vice Presidents at Caribou and Target? Starbucks and Taco Bell? Hewlett Packard and Costa Gravas? Cheeto Lay and 3M, where they can pull down 200 grand a year doing marketing. 

Or is their $4,000 a month rent so not a problem for them to cover that opening up itself is optional, and making one or two hundred more dollars a week, by being open any time other than peak hours on the weekends, is simply not worth the trouble? And don't tell me about the staffing shortage because I have come to simply not believe in it. Yeah, maybe a section of unemployed people with other options is spurning the $10 an hour jobs, but the places I'm talking about? They usually pay better than that, especially counting tips, and these places could probably manage to even pay even a bit more if they were as interested in The Community as they like to profess they are. 

But far more importantly and tellingly, I am not seeing "We're Hiring" signs in any of these windows. 

You know what kind of signs I'm seeing in their windows?

Closed signs.

Target is open. McDonalds is open. Boring corporate soulless America seems to have recovered, and that's just... great. Fucking great. But an interesting beer at my charming local cafe, an actually properly made cappuccino? No, that's only available for a couple hours every other Friday.

I've puzzled it out. The answer is that America is doomed. Poor people still work like dogs, sure. But for everyone else? Not a single one of us works anymore. From the lowest of the low middle to the highest of the high, everyone is just collecting paychecks and looking busy, creating nothing in particular. Jobs are boring and not that hard or productive. Really making something, day in and day out, 60 hours a week, takes effort.

So make your cappuccino at home, or buy the fake ones from the chains.

The dream is over. 

Except on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from five to nine.

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