Thursday, June 30, 2011

How old are you?

Last week my son and I were making the rounds of our new neighborhood. After yet another introduction, O growled as we walked away, "How come it's okay for adults to ask me how old I am, but it's rude if I ask how old they are?"

Good observation, my boy!

Part of the reason, I explained, is that many adults are often at a loss making conversation with kids. They don't have young children or they're not in tune with what's going on in Kid World, so rather than ask if you're planning to see Cars II, they fall back on what I call "numbers questions": "What grade are you in?" "How long have you been out of school?" "How old are you?" Even people who do have children ask this because they're trying to figure out if their kid is the same age. A more polite way of asking the question would be indirectly, such as, "You look to be the same age as my 10-year-old son." O agreed this was the more civilized, respectful approach.

Flash forward to two nights ago. O and I were at the cash register at Savers, a chain thrift store. The cashier, who looked to be all of 20 years old, asks me, "Are you 55 or older?" I wasn't sure I heard her right and said, "Excuse me?" She giggles and says a little more loudly, "Are you 55 or older?" By now there must have been a shocked look on my face because she adds, "I'm sorry ... it's a store policy. I have to ask everyone that question because we give a discount to seniors."

"You ask that of everyone?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Unless they look like a teenager."

"So you've managed to insult a customer twice in less than 30 seconds," I responded. "Well done."

She didn't know what to make of my comment -- perhaps the math in my sentence confused her -- and after I paid I lingered at bit at a display to hear how she rang out the people behind me, a couple that definitely didn't look like fans of Justin Bieber. Nope, they didn't get asked if they were 55+.

When I got home I sent an e-mail to Savers' customer service, asking if it was their policy to ask customers for their ages because IMO, it's a pretty stupid policy. First of all, because it's Savers, a freaking thrift shop. Customers are already getting a pretty good discount! Second, because no matter what your age -- 22, 30, 46, 65, 82 -- do you really want to hear that you look like you could be over 55, especially when all you're trying to do is buy two pairs of boys' shorts, a paperback book, and a bag of Matchbox cars for a grand total of $11? I just want to pay and get out of there, not have to answer questions about my age or whatever -- it's none of their freaking business. And third, if you've ever shopped with someone who is eligible for a senior discount, you know they'll let the cashier know pronto they're entitled to it.

This exchange left such a bad taste in my mouth, I don't plan to ever shop at Savers again. If I want someone to ask me my age, I can visit my doctor's office. Or go to a bar.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Keep calm and carry yarn

My love of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" theme is well documented here on the blog, although I must admit some growing ambivalence over the last few months as the artwork has become ubiquitous: mugs, tea towels, light switches ... what next? Toilet paper?

That said, I adore these knitting bags from Etsy shop Jenniegee, Perfect for my summer sweater and sock projects and an apropos slogan in that I knit to relieve anxiety. She also offers the slogan on posters ... hmm, maybe one for the knitting nook I hope to develop in our new house.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer is here

That was quite a stretch without posting. I've been dealing with some health problems, but the bright spot is I'm scheduled for surgery at the end of July and (knock wood), I can heave a sigh of relief and move on with my life once the surgery is over. And speaking of moving ... yep, we're in the process of doing that, too. We found a cute little 1940s-era Cape a couple towns south of us and will be moving there in a few weeks. I'm very excited: one of the major bike trails in the area abuts our (1.5-acre) property, we're steps away from a great farmstand, Whole Foods is about 1.5 miles away, there's an empty chicken coop out back, and we have (drumroll) goats living next door. My son can practically look into their pen from his bedroom window. We dream about owning goats someday and my husband and I told our son he could raise chickens, so we can look at this as a test run.

Since I've been spending so much time in doctors' waiting rooms and the hospital lobby, I've gotten quite a bit of knitting done. I finally finished my Aria Delicato (Raveled here) scarf yesterday:

This, an Anne Hanson design, was my first foray in lace knitting and I think it came out well. My plan was to keep it for myself when finished, but the blue reminds me of my dear friend Kate, so the scarf will be shipped off to her this week as a belated birthday gift.

I also knit up a shawl from the fall 2010 issue of KnitScene, Kate Gagnon Osborn's Oscilloscope Shawl. This also had some lace work, but not as intricate as the Aria Delicato above.

All that's left on the needles are my Owl Sweater (too heavy to knit in this weather) and plain vanilla socks, which are just perfect for knitting on hot, steamy June afternoons.