At a recent Planning & Zoning meeting, I heard an engineer proclaim that the local convenience store as we know it, will soon to be a thing of the past. Apparently, the “future” is full-blown truck stops. I’m really having a hard time wrapping my mind around these 18-wheeler complexes anywhere but on the interstate.
This is the second time in six months I’ve been told that a familiar business model is being replaced, for instance, the drive-thru at the new Jack-in-the-Box on 105. Instead of a striped drive-thru lane with ample room to exit the line if necessary, the new Jack layout corrals customers into a long, narrow curbed drive-thru next to a steep embankment which is unusually close to the side street. There are undoubtedly a number of reasons for this layout but I’m hard-pressed to see customer safety as one of them.
I have a friend who’s been with Jack management for nearly 40 years and she confirmed the company’s move to two new basic site layouts. She’s also seen her share of drive-thru disasters like stalled vehicles, heart attacks and shootings. Should that happen here, the Navasota restaurant provides no outlet for the middle four cars of the six lined up within the curb. The lane is so narrow and incline so steep that trying to jump the curb would compound the original problem! This lack of maneuverability is the Jack of the future I’m told we have to accept.
Moving on to the next “change,” the medical profession lost my confidence with their handling of covid and a recent experience with a new doctor hasn’t helped. After scheduling my appointment, I was pestered daily with text messages, then multiple times a day, to provide 70-plus years of medical history using my phone! Grudgingly, I acquiesced only to learn at my appointment they forgot to download it! So, what purpose did this texting harassment serve? It wasn’t prompt handling of paperwork. My agitation with this “new” way of doing things was exacerbated by their lackadaisical attitude about what had been an inconvenient, stressful and challenging process for me.
Well, now is when I admit that I have been a co-conspirator in facilitating change which has been as frustrating to others as the above has been to me. Last month, the Grimes County Republican Party went high-tech with online registration and auction bidding for its annual Reagan Dinner. While our tech-savvy attendees were thrilled, some of our more seasoned regulars were as aggravated about the loss of the familiar bid sheet as I am about truck stops, drive-thrus and texted medical histories.
Intellectually, I see the writing on the wall and comprehend that change of the familiar is “the wave of the future.” I plead guilty to using those very words myself in defense of the Reagan committee’s openness to trying something new. Undoubtedly, we’re being not-so-gently nudged into the digital realm - from texted medical histories to being forced to order from your phone while you’re actually sitting in the restaurant; however, some hills, like truck stops in residential neighborhoods and drive-thru maneuverability, are worth dying on.
That being said, my survival instinct nags at me to get with the program and learn this digital stuff so I’m not left behind. It’s time to sink or swim. Adapt or retire to the rocking chair. It’s not easy accepting that your generation doesn’t run the world anymore, particularly, when your replacements seemed to have lost their minds. So, on issues important to me, I’ll continue to speak out. At my age, my voice is the strongest organ I have left!
I’m not a fan of writer Mira Grant but I’m commandeering her quote as a fitting septuagenarian war cry - “It's better to go out with a bang and a press release than with a whimper and a secret!”
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.