Five Things

In many western countries, Sundays are traditionally considered a day of rest. This was certainly the case up until the 90s in Canada as most stores were closed for business. Even the convenience stores at the time would either be closed or have ropes set up to block various aisles that contained “non-essentials”, which technically could not be sold on the sabbath. As laws changed and the local culture adapted to stores being open seven days a week and later having some accessible 24-hours a day, the idea that Sunday was for resting faded away.

Having a two year old boy in the house generally means that there’s no such thing as a minute of rest, let alone one entire day. Perhaps it’s the old man in me talking, but I’m absolutely exhausted by the time The Boy is brought upstairs and put to bed.

Momentary Lapses of Unconsciousness

When I used to work at the printing company in Canada, I would finish the day quite exhausted. Complex challenges required complex solutions, and every few hours I was asked to solve a problem I’d never faced before. It was an excellent opportunity to learn and grow in a number of areas. What this meant, though, was that I would often fall asleep on the bus ride home for just a few minutes at a time. These little power naps were incredibly refreshing.

A similar thing happened after I started working in Japan. Some clients wanted on-site training rather than sending their people to one of the many schools in the region. So I would often start my day at a school, work there for a few hours, then head out to a distant office by train. While sitting on the rocking vehicle, I would fall asleep for a few minutes and wake up at the next stop feeling quite refreshed. This went on for years until I left the classroom for a different line of work.

Now that I’m responsible for a little person and often working from home, there are not many opportunities for mid-day naps. When they do happen, I’m often woken within a few minutes by a kick, a sneak attack, or just a random shout. The little naps are not at all refreshing and generally make me feel even more tired after regaining consciousness.

One day an afternoon nap might actually feel good again, but not anytime soon.

No More Physical Point Cards

Almost a decade after the introduction of smartphones, the majority of Japanese companies have moved away from physical loyalty cards to digital ones in the form of “applications” that need to be installed on a personal device in order to be used. In exchange for the convenience of not having yet another credit card-sized piece of paper in our wallet, the stores have the luxury of collecting a great deal more information about their customers. The point system remains the same. The coupon values remain the same. The hassle of finding the card remains the same, too1. Not too sure that what a person gives up is worth the few yen they get back.

Anxious

Anxiety is nothing new for me. I’ve learned to recognize the precursors of certain responses, which has made it possible to mostly deal with the problem in a semi-responsible manner2. The intensity of the feeling generally rises and falls with the seasons. As springtime officially approaches, I expect it to fall substantially. Winter, while one of my preferred seasons, is generally hard on the nerves.

Friction

Since wiping the Apple notebook of macOS in favour of Ubuntu, there has been an increasing amount of friction when using my iPhone. Many of the features I used to enjoy simply do not exist for Ubuntu, such as AirDrop and Photos integrations. This extra layer of friction reminds me of the difficulties people used to face before modern software allowed for a seamless flow of data between devices. While I do have some applications and techniques to reduce the amount of friction I feel when moving data between the computer and the phone, there is still quite a barrier to overcome. I wonder if there’s a better way to improve the seamless flow between devices.

A Different Scale

Next weekend we’ll have some guests visiting the house for the first time, so today we picked up a new rug for the living room. The colour and size are quite nice and the price was more than reasonable. After getting it home and set on the floor I realized that the rug wouldn’t fit in the old apartment as it would be 20cm too wide. Our current living room can easily accommodate four of these rugs. The new house is small by Canadian standards, but quite the respectable size for this part of the country.

May we never need to move into a smaller living space ever again.


  1. When I look at people's phones as they swipe around looking for the stores app, they typically have what appears to be hundreds of icons on their phone. Rarely do I see people use the search function.

  2. I go outside for some fresh air, a walk, and — usually — a drink.