Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Little Solid Ground

All this talk of film remakes has caused me to stumble a bit, to feel the need to hold onto the hand rail as I climb the stairs in case something else I normally count on gives way. Every time I get comfortable with a thing, it either changes or disappears all together.

First, there is a vote, and Pluto isn't a planet anymore. Then Marshall Fields becomes a Macys. Marshall Fields, I say with my best Chicago nasal tone and with emphasis and extra inflection because the store on State Street in Chicago is an institution. I went there on field trips as a kid (for home ec. classes believe it or not). I bought the material for my bride's maid dresses in the basement of that store. I walked past it every day on my way to work. I bought Frango mints as if they were essential food.*

Yesterday, I pulled through the drive through at Wendy's for lunch--a side salad and an order of chicken strips. Since they did away with their chicken strip salad, I've had to construct my own. When I opened up the paper sack, I found a note announcing that Wendy's is discontinuing the chicken strip, but they have many other ways to "enjoy chicken." If I liked the other ways, I'd order them. I want chicken strips.

Nioxin came up with a great texturizing hair spray that I used every day. I became an agent for the stuff, recommending it to everyone else I knew with thin hair. Even the woman who cuts my hair learned to love it and recommend it to people. Then months ago, I walked into the shop to buy another bottle, and the shelf was empty. Nioxin decided to discontinue the stuff--my stuff--the stuff that keeps my hair from looking like rabbit fluff. There is no fair substitute on the market, and now I am left with an empty shelf and bird feathers for hair.

I know better than to place significant value in things--"Away from the things of man" and all that. And I know in a week or so I will have found a replacement for Wendy's chicken strips (which honestly, were sometimes a little dry), but it would be reassuring if, while I am here on earth, I could walk on solid ground and not have to hang on to the hand rail. It would be comforting to be steady on rock, knowing the things I appreciate and depend on will not sink in marketing quick sand beneath my feet.

*I never actually had to buy Frango mints because they were given away as incentive for applying for a Marshall Field's credit. Being penniless, I could apply over and over again with no hope of actually being accepted. It was a dark day when they finally gave me a card and stopped giving me free Frangos.


dive said...

Hee hee … Rabbit fluff and bird feathers. If your profile photo was big enough, I would have lost an afternoon's work playing around in Photoshop to see your new look …
I really hope you find a replacement soon.

As for junk food chicken, I've never eaten it myself, but I would imagine that some old cardboard dipped in grease then coated with salt would give much the same flavour (and probably more nutrition). Best stick to the salad.

It is indeed a strange, changing world the older we get.
But keep writing about the old stuff, Robyn; youngsters only get curious about our lives when we're too senile to remember anything, so revision notes will help.

Sassy Sundry said...

Those mints sound great. Around here, Macy's overtook our beloved Filene's, and the original store is gone. Sadness all around.

I hear you. I don't like fast food, but I definitely get what you are talking about. Don't enjoy chicken at Wendy's though. Some of my friends worked there as teenagers. Scary place.

RICH said...

The thumb tack has been replaced by the push pin!!

Robyn said...

Dive, Photoshop can be a curse if you use it for evil. The salad needs a little protein or I'll fall down in a heap on the floor.

Sassy, I read an article about the Macy's takeover across the country, which in itself is not a bad thing, but people like their familiar stores. There are picketers at Fields who vow never to shop at Macy's--a real hold out town.

Rich, I hadn't even tought about thumb tacks.

I'm not opposed to progress in general, but just because something is new, it doesn't automatically make it better.

dive said...

Thumb tack? Push pin?
Fortunately the humble drawing pin remains unscathed on this side of the pond.

Robyn said...

What the heck is a drawing pin?

Old Knudsen said...

See what happens when you kick the British out, ya don't speak English, next you'll say you don't know what blu tack it.

Robyn said...

Old K, I'm afraid to ask.

dive said...

A drawing pin is a pin used for putting up drawings. I assume it's the same as your thumb tack.
Another one for our transatlantic dictionary.