What is the “in thing”? 流行事物

2021.04.23

Reader question:

What is the “in thing”?

My comments:

Or the in thing to do?

Colloquially, when people talk about something that’s in, they mean to say that something or some practice is in fashion or in style.

In as against out, of course. Out, as in out of fashion, out of date, out of practice.

For example, with the coronavirus pandemic going on in many places, facial masks have been in, or wearing a mask is currently the in thing to do.

One day, when the pandemic goes away, wearing a mask will be out, especially during summertime.

In short, the in thing represents the newest or the most current trend, fashion, style, etc.

The thing about the in thing is that it usually doesn’t last. So jump on the bandwagon if it’s your thing to keep up with the joneses. Do it now because what’s in now may be out tomorrow, I mean, very soon.

And here are media examples of situations where something is in, as against out:

1. Her blue-green eyes are as clear as her name would suggest, but her wants and needs are muddy as she walks with aching joints on the streets of Atlanta, trying to resist the urge to get high.

Like many people living with HIV/AIDS in downtown Atlanta, she's less concerned with her disease than about where she’s going to sleep, what she's going to eat and how she’s going to stay clean. It’s been a few days since she’s had cocaine or alcohol, and she wants to keep that up. But when you’re living on the streets, surrounded by dealers and users, it’s hard to say no to a source of good feelings you’ve known for decades.

“What am I gonna do if I don’t use? Who am I gonna be, if I’m not gonna be an addict?” Crystal, 46, asks one crisp day in October, her icy hands hoping to find gloves later. “I’ve been an addict all my life, which just leaves you with a lot of empty time, a lot of space in your life; that seems like a dangerous thing to me. People get in trouble when they don't know what to do, or where to go.”

Crystal -- CNN is not using her last name -- is stuck in a cycle of addiction, drugs, homelessness and disease. She got HIV by selling sex to buy more drugs, a risk factor that isn’t the only predominant way of contracting the virus, but something Dr. Wendy Armstrong sees commonly at Grady Health Care System’s Ponce De Leon Center, one of the largest HIV/AIDS treatment facilities in the United States.

...

Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, Crystal began smoking marijuana at age 15; it gave her the immediate gratification she was looking for. She would smoke pot every day and drink on the weekends. Drugs, she believed, were the “in thing.”

“It made me feel good,” she said. “As a child, I didn’t grow up learning how to feel good about myself.”

- Pieces of Crystal: Homeless and HIV-positive in Atlanta, CNN.com, November 30, 2011.

2. Corn was the crop of choice 17 years ago when we landed in Mexico, on the shores of Lake Chapala. Everybody who had a patch of ground had a corn patch. More land, more corn, some for tamales, some for farm animals, some for the market.

A surge in tequila sales created a shortage of agave. Farmers chopped down their corn stalks, hurriedly plowed their land and went after new money. Soon there were great tracts of agave.

Maturation takes time and in time, supply exceeded demand. Prices tumbled. You could see the impact. What had been clean rows of agave were invaded by weeds. Farmers gave up and got jobs in manufacturing, the better to maintain their red pickup trucks with fancy chrome in front.

Knee-jerk agriculture is again on an exciting rise in our part of Mexico. Berries are the “in” thing. In much of Jalisco and some of Michoacan, white Quonset huts by the thousands have popped up. The tunnel houses, simple rounded aluminum frames covered with sheet plastic, have strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries flourishing inside.

This greenhouse technique speeds and expands the growing season and shelters the fruit from birds, dust storms and aliens in spaceships. Results have been phenomenal. Quality and quantity are off the charts.

International companies have invested. Driscoll’s and Dole are strong in our neighborhood. A company from Chile has joined the competition. More and better jobs have been created.

Some berry farmers had extensive acreage in carrots, onions and cabbage. Some have combined family holdings into berry farms. Some have leased large additions. Sorting, packaging and shipping centers have sprung up. This is big.

The original target market was the United States. It already had the appetite and transportation was in place. The Mexico berry business went on to Europe. Sales are rising in Japan. Last month, a Chinese delegation inspected and approved Mexico methods of risk management, primarily refrigeration facilities and pest control.

- Mexico berries are the “in” thing, MexConnect.com, April 12, 2014.

3. We don’t know when it became a thing, but sending cash bouquets are apparently the in thing to do now.

We’ve seen plenty of people trying to outdo each other with their bouquets.

However, this recent one is arguably the craziest one we’ve seen yet.

A Terengganu florist by the name of Safiyah Alias recently received a request from a customer to create a bouquet made out of ringgit notes amounting to RM50,000!

That’s an insane amount of money, and the result shows as the 30-year-old’s creation has since gone viral on social media after she posted a video clip on TikTok.

According to a report by Harian Metro, the sales assistant at the flower shop said the customer, 56-year-old Wan Baha Uddin Wan Jaafar wanted to surprise his wife Ermy Shafilah Othman, 41, with the bouquet.

Safiyah told the Malay portal that she started putting together the bouquet a day before the surprise, and she took a whopping 17 hours to perfect it.

“I started making it last Friday from 11am until 3.30am the next day.

“My nieces and nephews helped fold the banknotes and I did the rest of it including the arrangement, wrapping and final touches.

“I didn’t move and only took breaks to eat, pray and use the bathroom because the job required attention to detail so that the 182cm-tall bouquet could be completed,” she was quoted as saying.

- Malaysian Man Surprises Wife With 1.8m-Tall Cash Bouquet Worth RM50,000, Netizens In Awe, RojakDaily.com, April 15, 2021.

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About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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