Photo by MediaProduction on iStock

Well, it was a busy weekend, and although I don't wear one of those fitness-tracking watches that count every step I take, I bet quite a lot of miles were covered. Now, before you start thinking I turned into a fitness fanatic and went hiking or did laps at the park, I'm talking about going from store to store. And at times, it felt like a scavenger hunt as my younger daughter tried to complete all her shopping for college so that she could then focus on packing for college.

Not all the miles covered were on foot, but driving from place to place meant dealing with countless parking lots, and my daughter and I felt like bunnies hopping in and out of the car. Which reminded me of when I was growing up (decades ago) and could do most of my shopping by going to a single destination – Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. (What makes me feel old is that when the mall opened in 1972, it was the first two-story shopping center on Long Island!)

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not doing that "in the good ole' days" thing where I'm finding fault with how shopping is today. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that it made me a little nostalgic for how things once were, especially when I think back to being a teenager. Weekend shopping at the mall was more of a social experience than it was about checking things off a shopping list. (Even then, I was a lover of lists.)

Fast forward to several years ago, and the concept of the shopping mall as a destination still existed. I can remember letting Natasha and Sawyer go shopping at the local First Colony Mall by themselves, giving them their first taste of independence. (Ok, so I "hung out" at a restaurant at the mall with a stack of reading material and had them check-in on a regular basis.)

By then, the shift to online shopping had already begun, and I could see it in the stores – they were less busy and some had gone out of business, and once-busy malls seemed more like ghost towns. Yet, I still preferred brick-and-mortar stores because I wanted to be able to see and touch things before I made a decision. But COVID-19 changed that. Dramatically.

People, like me, who had never really used online shopping, now were dependent on it. Previously, I'd never have considered buying groceries online (I'm not sure why I thought I needed to see and touch staples like toilet paper and laundry detergent) and restaurant delivery, which was unheard of not that long ago, was now the replacement "luxury" for going out to eat.

I can't help but wonder what the future holds for shopping, but was left speechless (not an easy thing to do) when I asked Black her thoughts,

I know you do not want a business explanation of how shopping habits have changed over the years, or details on the demise of the shopping mall. I will tell you that, over the years, I have gone through various stages of shopping – shopping to "prove" I was successful, shopping out of boredom, and shopping as a tourist when traveling. But, I can honestly say that I got the most enjoyment shopping last week … when Sawyer and I went to The Container Store to pick out things for her dorm room.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Quick! Define literacy (without Google or Siri's help). Ok, finished? We bet that you may have stopped at the ability to read and write. Which, technically, isn't wrong. It just isn't completely right, either. Which is what Red found out when she discovered, much to her surprise, that it includes such critical areas as financial, digital, and health literacy.

Red even admitted to Black that she didn't understand all those terms, although she had another concern … was Black going to use her as a poster child for her lack of literacy skills in this month's column, "RED & BLACK … A Blueprint For Life?!"

P.S. – This month's column is in honor of September being Adult & Family Literacy Month.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Underlying photo by mphillips007 on iStock

Red's Head

I can't believe how quickly the year's flying by. And that tomorrow's already the fall equinox.

Black's Head Black

I cannot believe that you know that but did not know when Rosh Hashanah fell this year.

Red's Head

I got the dates mixed up. And I'll admit I had to look up the fall equinox date because it also varies slightly from year to year.

Black's Head Black

Technically, the equinox is not a day, but rather an exact moment – when the Sun crosses the Equator.

Red's Head

Picky, picky, picky. But if I remember correctly, although science class was decades ago, on the equinox, we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime.

Black's Head Black

Not exactly, but close enough. But, why are we even talking about this?
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Photo by Spauln on iStock

Initially, I just chalked this up to being "old" and accepting the fact I remember telephones before they were "smart" (and will admit they can make me feel "less-than-smart"). I am old enough to remember rotary dial phones (see the image above) where you had to place a finger in the hole associated with the number, then rotate the dial round to the end-stop and let the dial return under its own power. I will not go into the science behind it, but it was extremely reliable – although very hard on your manicure.

But, this is not about the history of telephones or the associated technology that has improved to the point computers that once required a large, air-conditioned room can now fit in your back pocket or handbag. This is not about us all (regardless of age) needing to be digitally literate. It is not about the fact the older we are, the larger the screen size we prefer, although we might claim it is a function of what we are used to versus admitting to declining vision as we age.

Rather, this is about a recent experience that first made me feel old. Then roll my eyes. And then open my eyes to an opportunity.

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