My Diary #036

Dear Tigey,

First full, actual week of work and classes after my 17 day Christmas break, and boy am I looking forward to the next Christmas break already!

Entry #036 (Jan 16 2022)

Table of Contents

Reading treatises on…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #34
ට  Song of the Week #11
ට  Dreams

School

In terms of my Haiku class, my presentation went well, and I now know far more than I ever probably need to know about Fujiwara no Teika, an interesting fellow who, among other things, was the compiler of the Hyakunin Isshu collection of 100 poems that karuta, the card game sport that Chihayafuru is based on, was itself based on. I like how different aspects of life sometimes loop in toward each other to connect and form neat circles.

Our Multicultural Learning Pods “course” thing that I have mentioned in many previous blog posts, and that I am taking part in, is a joint program between two smaller programs, the Certificate in International Learning on the Canadian side and the International Visiting Student Program on the Japanese side. The CIL coordinator had been on leave of some kind since mid-October, pretty much after our very first or second meeting, and the IVSP coordinator had been taking over her duties and chaperoning both sides through our biweekly meetings. But she had cancelled last week and postponed the meeting to this Thursday instead. We found out this week that our coordinator (the CIL one) had left her position and accepted a new job, whereas the IVSP coordinator had her family contract COVID last week, so she was unwell and unable to do the online meetings until she recovered.

It’s really odd that a coordinator can up and quit halfway through a program, but I guess I’m not too surprised since I mentioned at some point that the Summer Connect coordinator also did that in 2019. Kind of unprofessional of her though, but she never seemed interested in our cohort (she hadn’t contacted us since early October), and it’s not a big surprise so many students seem to have dropped out, we only had 9 or 10 CIL students turn up this week, which feels like just around half the original number that started. It’s as awkward as an instructor quitting mid-semester while teaching a course. At any rate, the IVSP coordinator said that they were hiring for the CIL coordinator position but she noted that we still hadn’t received any feedback or anything for the mid-semester essay, and our end project at the end of the semester might be toned down as well due to time and lack of an overseer, so huzzah, I suppose!

I do know that I’ve always had a lot of luck with getting away with credit despite doing less than what was originally stated as necessary to complete a course, for whatever reason, throughout my schooling career. Not due to slacking off but just due to official plans changing, like this.

In terms of my exchange plans, I started my Singapore study abroad app and wrote up a letter to my coordinator to send to the National University of Singapore to see if I’d even qualify for it. And I’m not sure, it’s pretty much 50-50 like I was with Sophia (who accepted my request) and Waseda (who didn’t) in Japan. He hasn’t sent the letter yet, will probably do so next week, and I’ll probably know by the end of the week which University I’ll be applying to, since the deadline for the initial application is Jan 26th or so. And those are the only two schools under consideration for me right now.

Our school formally announced that this semester was going to remain online until at least Feb 28th, which is just after our university’s Reading Week on Feb 22-25. It was formerly slated to be online at least until January 23rd, but the add-drop deadline for courses was January 18th, so some students were complaining about the uncertainty there since they wanted to know whether the rest of the semester would be online or not before they decided on whether they would keep their in-person-but-online courses or not. Oddly, the school “remedied” this by extending the online mandate by another month, and it’s probably going to be even further, but they left the add course deadline as Jan 18th and “extended” the drop course deadline to.. Jan 21st, which seems completely pointless to me, but whatever. I’m not dropping my course anyway, though I haven’t paid either as I’m still waiting for my boss at work to approve my tuition remission, and he was away from work part of this week for a family emergency.

Work

This was my first week back at school, and I’m no longer the Queue Monitor for our team (except when I had to cover for the current QM on the team on Friday, whose entire family managed to contract COVID), so it’s actually been a fairly quiet week to slide back into things, all things considered. I don’t think the other people who do QM duty do it like I do, but it is a lot less hectic when I’m not constantly monitoring our queue all day and don’t have to partition time at night to dole out the next day’s tickets. I do not have sleeping problems, but the general gist of this article that popped up on my Pocket feed this week certainly ringed with truth for me.

Our team’s morning standups used to be at 9:00 am, whereas the team we got merged with used to have their standup at 1pm, so our supervisor split the difference and have us starting at 11am and going to lunch every day instead. This feels very weird and I don’t like it, partly because for the past 12 years or so I’ve been conditioned to feel like my day doesn’t really start until the morning standup is over, and it’s a little hard to get around that mental block, and partly because the 11-12 period is also usually a time where I do my cooking, get ready to go out for lunch and groceries or a walk, etc, and I can’t really do that with this meeting in the way now.

Still, the meeting itself has been fine, although it usually transitions into a social half-hour after everyone runs out of work stuff to talk about about halfway through, and that’s a little annoying because it feels like a waste of time (some of the more introverted members of our former team just leave the room, I’ve noticed). I do understand the need for it though, to help this new team bond together, so I’m giving it a chance. My boss’s time is crushed from now having to manage twice the number of people and problems he did before though. And as mentioned earlier, he was away on Thursday and Friday this week due to a family emergency to do with his dad being in the hospital.

I am uneasy though because the female member of the other team left around New Year’s, on maternity leave or something (I think, our department nearly never informs others about personnel changes, which I think is terrible), so I’m not only the only Chinese/East Asian in the room now but also the only female out of like 14 people. And I don’t. Like. It. Diversity please. (I’ve brought this up with my boss before though and he says he is aware but that people that would fulfil the desired diversity aren’t applying, never mind qualified.)

Life

The cold weather streak broke early this week on Monday! I could finally go out again. My apartment rental office also almost forgot about my baseboards again, but I called them on Friday and they sent someone over to do it on the spot. He put down and charged a really noisy machine that had to do with gathering compressed air that was used by his nail gun (or equivalent) to nail the boards in, before sealing everything in place with some plaster or something. Cool stuff. More importantly, I have a functional house again! I haven’t moved anything back though, I still don’t trust the side boards to not have bedbugs bursting out of it the moment I move the boxes back, but I should move everything back soon anyway since my displaced boxes are strewn everywhere around the rest of the apartment.

I have my booster shot scheduled for this Monday, since I checked the Safeway pharmacy in the mall next to my house on a lark this week and found that they had spots. I could have had the shot as early as this Thursday or Friday but I was busy both days with school and that baseboards thing so I withheld it until Monday (plus it’s more worth it to get sick on weekdays, and not weekends, if I’m going to suffer any after-effects). The weather is also much better now, and much more suited for going out, although the mall is literally a three minute slow stroll away so it would have been doable even if it were still -35 out.

I had checked with the pharmacy in mid December, and they had said at the time that they were booked solid through the rest of their open schedule and to check back in early January, but I didn’t expect to find so many spots in early January, especially now that the weather is better, so that was weird. This might partially be because they were completely out of Pfizer too, but they were offering Moderna shots and I wanted to get Moderna this time after getting Pfizer the last two times anyway, so I was A-OK with this. They’re still out of those “publicly funded” free rapid antigen test kits though, haven’t seen those available at any of the pharmacies near me at all. And unlike the USA (particularly NY and CA when I went), there’s nowhere around here to get free testing that I know of, at least not public and obvious.

Those itching problems that plagued me in the middle of last year and off and on through the rest of the year had mostly subsided for the past couple weeks, but I did notice a few instances this week of a small number of itchy lumps appearing on various parts of my arms and/or legs again, especially on my thighs. Still no idea what causes them — I didn’t exactly go out anywhere this week, nor are there any more bedbugs around that I know of, so it’s unlikely to be either of those. Diet? Too much homemade soup? I had that for four days this week, so maybe. But that’s generally healthier than eating out due to containing less oil. A couple flies that I know are buzzing around that got in through the headboards before they were nailed back on? Maybe. Dust? Maybe? I can’t even tell anymore. A little of the anti-itching cortizone cream solves all my problems along this front these days though, by removing the itching and letting the lumps disappear on their own after a couple hours. And the scars on both my arms from when the itching was driving me mad last year are finally almost totally gone now.

Lastly, I finished processing all my videos from the Las Vegas segment of the trip, finally, though there’s still a lot of other videos to go from the other legs. I severely underestimated how long this would take to a) learn and b) actually do it, since I can’t use the computer for anything else while the video processes. And in fact the learning is still ongoing, in both the shooting and the processing stages of doing a chronicling vlog, so they’re still pretty bad right now overall. Still, hopefully by the end of next month I’ll have most of the videos done and a good chunk of the USA trip actually written up on my blog. Maybe. In the meantime, I’ve attached one of the videos from Rin‘s wedding at the end of this section — an Alagos chase cam! Just as a display and test of different lighting conditions (the camera doesn’t handle extreme dark well, as expected), I followed Alagos around the wedding venue after Rin let him out of his enclosure. I have 15 videos of varying length uploaded from my Las Vegas trip, by far the most of all from any one leg, largely due to the wedding that I attended (note from the Youtube title that this is wedding video #8).

Games

With all the school and work stuff this week, I didn’t have a bunch of time for games. What time I had I mostly put into Genshin Impact, as I’ve now levelled 3 of my characters to 80 and my fourth one to 77, before running out of XP books, gold, and pretty much every other resource needed to level anything. I wish there was a way to use my less-levelled characters effectively, as there are plenty of new characters I have that I’d like to play around with, but there’s next to no useful content to do if they’re not within 20 levels or so of the main group, since the world keeps scaling along with my characters. Still, it gets much harder to level characters past 80 (there’s only one more ascension, which raises the character level cap from 80 to 90) so maybe I’ll take some time to level some of my other girls soon.

I played a little bit of Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead on the side, with a plan to start a game in town, without zombies, and concentrate on seeing if I could figure out how to build a car or not. I’ve gathered some parts, but the going is slow and I really need to find the time and energy, which I don’t really have, to sit down and watch some videos, I think. One of my dream games is to be able to build a modular mobile base of operations though and do some scavenging though, and I think I can achieve something like that in Cataclysm. And if I ever learn how to do this, I can do it with zombies on in a proper future game. But gosh I hate the UI and jankiness of the game so much.

On the phone side of games, I spent most of the week playing Cyberika, which was a cool, atmospheric cyberpunk “MMO” game, though I did not actually see any MMOish aspect of the game in the time I spent in it other than seeing other players walking around in the hub. The game design was pretty sweet though, with glitzy signs and dirty streets everywhere, the LA-style ultra rich residing beside the ultra poor sort of neon aesthetic. I really quite enjoyed it. Until I ran into the fact that you only get 10 inventory slots, and you can spend a bit of money to get premium currency to unlock 10 or 15 more inventory slots… except that this unlock is only for 24 hours, and they conceal this fact behind UI panels. I actually had to click on the premium shop, click on the item, and then still long-press the item to get a temporary tooltip (that only remained as long as I was long-pressing it) to find the hidden place that told me it was only temporary. I had donated some Google Rewards money for an inventory unlock, found out a day later that it had only been a 24 hour unlock, and instantly quit and uninstalled the game. I’m allergic to paid subscriptions (unless they’re very up-front about the cost going in, to set expectations), consumables, and temporary unlocks in games. This game is deceptive and I suggest everyone avoid it.

I also did a little side of Call of Antia to get to the level that I needed to get to for Thran to get his referral credit, after we figured out that I could actually still set it up, I just had to pass a certain level to do so. He claimed that the game/story gets better after the awful first chapter or so and he’s actually correct, it does. It’s still not particularly engaging but at least it’s a decent, average game now.

Besides that, I dabbled a little bit into my new Steam games, and our daily Anime Music Quiz games are still a staple of my afternoons, but besides that I didn’t really touch any other game. Oh, besides CrossCode, since the game is now complete and I now own the complete edition. I started a new game since I had forgotten most of the controls and was slowly plodding along, revisiting old memories from my last playthrough attempt a couple years ago, which was about 18 or so hours in. I also picked up Monster Sanctuary because it was on deep sale at a new historical low price, and i had barely passed on it for the past three Steam sales or so in favour of other games.

Plushie of the Week #34 – Nekonbu

This week’s plushie is related to last week’s plushie, and the previous six before that as well. The plushie keychain this week is apparently of a character that is also in the Jinbe-san line of toys, whose titular character was featured last week, except this one is a side character that I’d never heard of before. I bought this one in the States as well as a gift for my younger sister, since I couldn’t actually find a Jinbe-san souvenir or plushie anywhere to get for her. So this was the next best thing.

I don’t think she’s actually fond of this particular character, at least I haven’t seen any iterations of it in what little of her collection I’ve seen, but this hopefully also means that she doesn’t have it yet as well. Also, although she’s in town now, we haven’t actually met up since she’s staying at our parents’ place right now, so she doesn’t know that this will eventually be on his/her way to her yet. I figured that now would be a good time to catalogue it first, before I pass it over to her.

This plushie hails from the Mai Do store in Japantown in San Francisco, which is the same franchise store that I got the Pusheen plushie a couple weeks ago from. Same store, but different stock in both locations. I visited it on November 08 2021, and this San Fran store was a lot larger than the San Jose one, and felt more like a mini department store, whereas the SJ one was a small shop about a quarter to a third of the size of the SF one. Like the Pusheen, this one was also pricey for how much plushie I got, he/she cost $19.54 USD after taxes and fees.

He/she doesn’t have a name or any biographical details yet, besides the default name of Nekonbu, I’ll leave it to my little sister to decide on his/her details!

Front (that poor fish):

Back (that poor squiggly tail):

Tag:

Booklet inner back:

Booklet inner pages:

Song of the Week #11

Title: 我多喜欢你,你会知道 (Wo Duo Xi Huan Ni, Ni Hui Zhi Dao) (You’ll Know How Much I Like You)
Artist: 王俊琪 (Wang Jun Qi)
Album: A Love So Beautiful Original Soundtrack (2017)

So far, my first 10 Songs of the Week have been, in order, English, English, English, Japanese, New Age Instrumental, English, Japanese, English, Japanese, and English again. So for a change of pace, here’s one of the Chinese songs in my repertoire. This song is the super sweet opening song from a Chinese slice of life/romance/drama that I actually never completed watching, called A Love So Beautiful. There’s apparently a Korean version of the show as well now.

Anyway, I didn’t stop watching this show because I dislike it, I actually loved the show, the episodes are just about an hour long each, and I used to watch them on my laptop in bed prior to falling asleep, but I no longer really have a time slot dedicated to watching shows in bed any longer, especially since I no longer have to commute to work and so just go to bed whenever I feel like it. However, I have fond memories of the show, and especially of this song, which I fell in love with for its melody and straight-forwardness in the lyrics (very roughly translated in this particular video, but close enough). I’ll probably finish the show at some point in the future. The show itself is a really sweet students-to-adult-life romance between two characters around the hijinks of a larger group of five friends that they both belonged to, and that kind of show always applies to me I guess due to the rather fractured school life I had.

Other than that, there aren’t any memories or anything attached to the show since I watched it in late 2020, other than memories of lying in bed in the very room that I am sitting in right now, and typing this blog post from. I expect that once I move out, this will become even more impactful for being linked to that particular memory though. It’s just a really sweet song overall, and this linked video version below has some character lines intermingled in as well.

Dreams
Jan 10 2022
  • I had dreams partially revolving around being an idol manager, and partially revolving around being on holiday in some overseas hotel, first on a related business trip and then morphing into a version with my family around. The idol manager segments still bled into the trip though so the two basically happened simultaneously.
  • The hotel dreams I remember involved a VIP office that we qualified for and used on the 9th and 10th floor, although it was normally reserved for much more expensive clients. There was a regular elevator we could use, but it was always busy and a couple times in the dream the lobby and elevator itself got filled with really weird people that looked like they were here for some filming — at one point there were dozens of identical-looking boys with shaved heads and tanned faces who looked like they had leprosy, as some of them had started breaking out in sores. At another point there were lots of impossibly small children waiting for the lift. In both cases I excused myself from the crowd, walking over top of the waiting crowds as I extricated myself and went to use the VIP elevator instead.
  • The VIP elevator started on a different lobby, and didn’t travel along a vertical shaft from the elevator lobby — it swung out from the hotel, circled the hotel on a monorail, and then connected back to the hotel on a vertical elevator shaft on the other side of the building before going up to our desired floor.
  • At some point, I had the chance to buy an upgrade to add to our hotel room or something, which was another room that I “bought” and “attached” to the outside of one of the exterior doors. The manager or owner figure we were with cautioned me to make sure to remember to lock the door to that new room so people outside couldn’t come into it. I said that I had left the connecting door unlocked since it was no longer leading to the outside, but had locked the other door leading from the new room, which was now the new exterior door.
  • As a manager, I had doors/buttons with training tasks on them, and I could add modifiers to them to challenge the idol girls, of which I believed I had two under my care. One of the girls wanted to do tasks with one of the modifiers but it required me to be level 10 to assign them. However, I found out that even though I was level 9 and change, I seemed to have access to that modifier button, or at least to see its availability on some of the doors.
  • At one point during the business trip/VIP segment, I was with a senpai as we travelled up to our hotel room, and that other person got miffed that I didn’t use an honourific in a greeting once I came out of the elevator or came out of the hotel bathroom or something. The honourific in question apparently wasn’t actually a standalone word, but it was the left side radical of the Chinese word 给, and I argued that I had used no other words that I could have attached that radical onto, so I didn’t think I was at fault and that they were overreacting.
  • On the family side of things, there was a train station attached one of the bottom floors of the hotel and I travelled by train with my family a couple times. I remember also being on the train platform, which was a square hub with coloured train lines going in all directions on the map, and we saw a train with a yellow nameplate named after my Dad. We weren’t waiting for that train however so we let it rumble on away.
  • There was a scene on the train itself where my Dad befriended a couple and was chatting with them while I sat in a nearby seat. I saw a cave-in catastrophe coming though, and used my arms to shield myself and make an air bubble as I curled up into a ball, which saved me from being crushed by all the debris once the catastrophic event actually happened. Once it ended I was able to just shake off all the debris on me and sit up, safe and sound. My family was also safe. However, the couple that my Dad had been chatting to was not so lucky — the guy survived but the girl didn’t. When we left the train, my Dad took the girl’s white sneakers to help dispose of them so that the guy could concentrate on mourning his partner.
Jan 11 2022
  • I was recently married to one of my online friends (Quintopia), and the dream largely showcased a number of post-marriage parties that we had, particularly the last one that we had, where we chilled out with some food and drinks that the MC asked us to come to the food cart in the front of the room to get. There were lots of other people in the room, relatives and friends and such, though they seemed to be paying us no mind, and we were glad that the whole process was just about over as I was looking forward to some rest time. It seemed that we weren’t particularly close and were even living apart in different cities with no plans to move in. I was a bit worried about the marriage because we had never really been particularly close. I exchanged a joke with him and made him laugh a little. He said that he had a new bed and was looking forward to using it after the various receptions were finally over.
  • Mom was in the room and at one point mentioned something to the effect of how Edmonton had just finished going through a one day heat wave and how nice our weather must have been. I pointed out to her that before that one day heat wave, we had two solid weeks of freezing cold, so she was misrepresenting our weather. The last day of the freezing cold weather came with a cloudless sky though, which then caused the rise in temperature the next day as there were no clouds to block the sun.
  • I also looked through a large album she had at some point that was full of little Chinese talismans that she and Dad had collected over the years. I was apparently starting to amass my own collection from travelling though, so even though I seemed to also own the first few pages of the album via inheritance and could take them if I wanted them, I returned them all to her because I would probably soon have too many of my own.
  • There was a train station scene as well, with a number of really crowded, packed-shoulder-to-shoulder train stations, and many, many different train lines and connections and optional transfers that I could take on my way home. I ran through a theoretical scenario in my head at some point where I had committed a crime and the police were trying to hunt for me through the train cameras, and pondered what kind of route the detectives would be expecting me to take (i.e., take the first train and transfer after one stop to a different train) and what sort of tricky route I could take (i.e. take the second train going in the opposite direction, alight after two stops and take a different train in another wrong direction) to trick them.
Jan 12 2022
  • All I remember is a scene at our 4012 home between our three siblings. We were largely hanging out in our two bedrooms upstairs, and exchanging contact information on our phones through some sort of pet leveling app installed on it. Kel had hers levelled quite high, Jon had a less-levelled one and was complaining a little that Kel made him level it because her pet needed another pet to talk to. But he did seem to be playing the game on his own as well. My pet was new and was just level 4 or so, and I pretended to be not too interested in it and even said I would delete the pet if necessary if both my siblings were satisfied with the status quo, but neither of them were having any of that, and they came over to exchange contact information using the NFC feature in the app down at the large table in the main hall.
Jan 14 2022
  • I remember a specific snippet where two people living together, a boy and a girl, were playing a co-ed college football game against each other, with a side bet that the loser would have to pay rent on their joint apartment the following month for the winner. I was watching from the stands, and a television station was covering the game and she mentioned that to the audience. The girl’s team was leading by 8 points or so after the first few minutes of the game.
Jan 15 2022
  • I was meeting up with lots of my former Dunman High classmates for a class field trip to some location. I hadn’t met them in years, except for Allen, who I came with. We had pre-formed a group of 5 with 3 other girls, but it would be the first time most of the other girls saw me post-transition, so I was a bit nervous, but besides our group and one other group, none of the other groups were present in the waiting room that we all met in, so I never got to see them. However, when we arrived, the waiting room was full of school bags and shopping bags, lined up against the side of two walls, so it was obvious that nearly everyone else had arrived before us, they were just off somewhere else.
  • The only other person in my group I remember was Paulene, though I saw Antonia in the other group as well. I don’t remember who the other two girls in our group were. I called Paulene “Princess” at some point, and she laughed and said that she had always considered me to be in her top 10 friends.
  • Part of our prep work for the trip was apparently to play a handheld video game that had to do with a spaceship shoot-em-up that you could upgrade with all sorts of guns and that flew from the bottom of the screen toward the top, kind of like Tyrian, except the aim was to destroy enough meteorites to progress to the end of the level. There were some variations, for example one level near the end, where the player was descending to Earth, just required survival for 10 seconds against a lot of meteorites.
  • Anyway, the issue about the game that I did not realize at first was that even from the second level or so, once you completed it you had an option to either end the game with a minor victory or buy upgrades and continue pushing onwards, and both Allen and I had just done the minor victory and thought that that was it for the game. Paulene told us otherwise, and said that we should have pushed on in the game, so he took out his handheld console and proceeded to play through the rest of the game while I watched.
  • My game itself was an app on the phone instead of a handheld console. It was apparently possible to play the game on the bus, and the company even had a dedicated support representative for people who wanted to play their game on the phone, with instructions to file a ticket with the company’s help website as soon as possible even before we ran into any problems, so the rep could monitor us and assist if there was any trouble, or give advice as to how to break the game into bite-sized pieces (did we have time to complete the level before the next stop, etc.). There was one known issue though, which was that ship upgrades couldn’t be done due to some sort of error that would pop up, which seemed game-breaking to me.
  • I excused myself to visit the washroom at some point, which looked exactly like the downstairs washroom in our 4012 house, except it had two doors in the toilet, one that swung inwards and seemed useless, and one that swung outwards and was the proper door to prevent people from looking/coming in.
  • I remember looking at myself in the mirror and noting that I was wearing an ugly tanktop with a thin top half that exposed a lot of the area below my shoulders, and I saw that some of my skin was bright red, as though I was getting suntanned, with little red blotches on them that were never there before. No one else seemed to comment on it though, but I felt really self-conscious before I concluded that no one else was probably paying close attention since there were so many people around.
Jan 16 2022
  • There was a section of my usual supermarket/convenience shop, which had a nondescript storefront in my dream shopping mall squeezed between two other large shops, dedicated to support some sort of alternate reality social game craze going on between two “teams”. How it worked was that you bought an item and it would come with a code word and some phone number that represented your chosen team’s HQ you could dial and use the code word at, and that would allow your team to progress in some sort of mock battle against the other team. Anyone could choose to support either team, and it was basically a really successful marketing gimmick, with food, books, music records, and other things located in the section of the supermarket dedicated to this rubbish, half of it being sold with codes belonging to one team while the other half containing codes for the other team.
  • While I thought it was rubbish, I did need to buy some items that didn’t seem to be sold without a code. Specifically, I wanted to buy a single slice of bread and a small, but I was angry that this marketing gimmick had both caused many companies to opt into this craze and only sell their products with codes instead of also catering to those who didn’t care about the game, because this allowed them to mark up the price of the items and still have the items sell well. Case in point, the only cake I found was a small, dry cupcake that fit within the palm of my hand and cost over $2.00, and the single slice of bread was an end piece from a loaf and cost over $6.00.
  • Still, they were nearly out of stock and I wanted to get home to do something so I grabbed one of each anyway. The slice of bread was the last one left in the shelf and some woman rolled up after me and was disappointed to find that the wooden box I took the last one from was now empty. I noticed some man hanging around too and figured he was trying to find people playing the game and on his team to coordinate with them, as he was talking to customers as they left the area with items with special codes, so I took a wide berth around to avoid him, while thinking up an excuse if he approached me anyway. I decided I would blame it on my elder brother at home and say that he was really into this craze.
  • I wandered around the store a little bit more before absently wandering out of the store toward home. I then realized that I had forgotten to pay for these overpriced items but that somehow the security alarm didn’t go off. Still, I retraced my steps and went back into the shop and headed for the cashier at the back right side of the store.
  • The line was about 6 or 7 people long so I joined the end of the queue. I saw the man there again, and it turned out this time that he had on an employee’s apron, and was actually just asking the people in line if they had any issues he could help with to help speed up the line. A girl in front of me had some sort of money issue that he promised to help with shortly, and she was happy to hear this. He looked at me, said I was probably fine if I was just here to pay, and I nodded.
  • The usual public cashier booth was closed, and the “cashier” was instead being run by his supervisor, a woman operating from behind the closed white door of a side office. She occasionally cracked her door open to take the items from the next person in line, and would close the door again to process the items behind closed doors before reopening it to collect payment and hand the items to the customer. Social distancing, I suppose. But this meant that she couldn’t really also deal with customer escalations, which was why the male employee was doing as he did to try to help her.

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