After Shopping

Hey, I’m blogging again! Yes, a little bit here, but much more at After Shopping, my new site keeping track of the changing landscape of retail and storefronts as America grapples with the economic impacts of covid-19.

This is familiar territory for me in an unfamiliar environment. Longtime readers of this space will recall Timely Demise, which I spooled up during the financial crisis, just over a decade ago. I had a good run with it and learned a ton.

I’d thought about rebooting the concept for a few weeks and got set up in just the past few days. Once I found a name that resonated, and an appropriate angle to pursue, I was off and running. And run I shall: just to baseline the news to date for launch, I penned nine blog posts in the span of a few hours.

With effort, determination and a bit of good fortune, most of America’s retail footprint will persevere, but we’re already on a trajectory for an unimaginable amount of change. I’m hoping to capture as much of it as I can in one space and understand the forces and trends behind it.

I’m excited for this project and hope it proves interesting and enlightening. I wrote a little more about the concept over there, but readers can also just start at the top and explore.

Day 67

Yesterday my wife and I had a brief argument over what day of the week it was.

I’ve started adding little things to my calendar just to keep track of time. Normally, it keeps track of what I do: non-work activities, kid stuff, social plans. Now, of course, most of that is shot. A few weeks ago I looked at my calendar and saw nothing. And suddenly, I had no idea what went on those days. It was unsettling.

We joke about how life has become a blur, how days of the week no longer have meaning, that maybe I need to bring back the “Feels Like” Forecast, only it won’t say anything. But it’s true: without pacing, life really does blur together, sometimes for good (two-week vacation, anyone?) and other times, not.

So now my calendar includes the mundane. “Finish jigsaw puzzle.” “Costco delivery.” “Cronchy potatoes.” Things that otherwise wouldn’t matter, but now do. Because they give life structure: meaning, progress, momentum.

I am grateful for work, for my wife’s work, for my kids’ school, not just for the obvious (growth, interaction, income) but because we benefit from the pacing. Even intra-day: when the boys have class after lunch, the whole day feels better, because there’s a reason for them to engage in the afternoons. Yesterday they managed to while away 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in sprawling online playdates, more or less, and came out of them dazed and blinkering. Should we spend the summer in WFH and without camp, we’re going to have a robust activity schedule. Again: structure.

As with my last post, though, I have little to complain about. The boys are doing great in school, the missus is producing amazing things, the dog has learned how to fist bump, our extended family is safe and sound. I’m at peace with the monotony while we await our emergence from it.