There are days when I wouldn’t go back to work in an office, in a downtown, for any amount of money. There are days when I’d pay any amount for just another day there. Tuesday was one of those days — a successful meeting in the morning, a lunch hour all to myself, a sparkling day on the riverfront. Lousy picture, seen here:
(Why do they even put cameras this crappy in cell phones? You’d be better off drawing a picture.)
I tried the new Asian Village on the waterfront, a combination fast-casual/sushi/white-tablecloth complex that’s new in town. Verdict: OK, but needs more foot traffic, and if you can’t get foot traffic on a perfect fall day, keep your fingers crossed. “It’s not organic,” Alan points out, and he’s not talking about the vegetables. It’s one thing when a Whatevertown springs up because the whatevers are drawn together individually, and another thing entirely when they’re plunked in by fiat. But it’s beautiful, the location can’t be beat, and with thousands of GM office staff right next door, my guess is they’ll be rolling in dough eventually.
(“Don’t be so sure,” says Alan. We’ll have to make a bet.)
While I was there, I looked around at contemporary American white-collar workers, wearing their lanyards of IDs and card keys and personal electronic devices. We’re becoming a nation of janitors. At my meeting, I not only had to be card-swiped into the building and personally escorted, but also the reverse. Employees had to swipe themselves out for smoke breaks. I had just been telling someone I sort of missed the days when all men wore neckties to the office, if for no other reason than to indicate status, and the more I watched these salarymen and women go through their day, it became clear why: Why wear all that crap and a tie? I tried to think of the last time I saw Alan in a tie (months). GM is a conservative company, and a few of the men tucking into Thai noodles wore neckties, but more didn’t. Khakis, polos, loafers — this is the new gray flannel suit.
I don’t mind it; I’m all for comfort within reason. But I recall watching the deterioration of dress at my old newspaper, which over 20 years went from neckties to collared shirts/no neckties to collared knit shirts to plain T-shirts to the day one of the Neighbors reporters came in wearing a T-shirt that said MUSTARD PLUG on the front, along with Teva sandals that showed off his grody toenails. I used to wear skirts and pantyhose to work; now I wear jeans to business meetings with bankers, and frequently the bankers are wearing jeans, too. If I have a blazer on, it’s like I’m dressed up. Yay me.
OK, just a bit of bloggage, because this is a busy week and I have less time for web-surfing and nose-picking:
When Alabama men of God die, they die alone. Thank God.
See you soon.