Dinner with a beauty therapist can be illuminating because these people learn a lot about what’s going on in the wider world by getting under people’s skin.
My beautician friend Sarah tells me that women in their twenties and thirties are lining up for Botox injections to erase the wrinkles around their eyes from too much time spent squinting into their iPhones and iPads.
This is cause for celebration.
Not because there are more prematurely-wrinkly females walking the street. but because the rate of job losses through technology has become downright scary and it’s a welcome change to hear it is actually creating a few.
The digital economy is said to favour only those at the top end of the employment pyramid while sapping the life out of the lower levels.
We see it every day. Who would have thought you could robotise the checkout chick? Tollway collectors are almost extinct with the eTag and not even census collectors are safe, with the increasing number of people using online forms.
OK, a few more Botox-slinging medicos are not going to reverse that trend, but there are a few more jobs if you look beneath the radar.
Online shopping may have annihilated retail but it’s been a bonanza for couriers.
My son is one of billions of people around the world who know their couriers by their first names and where their kids go to school.
He started as a teen buying action figures and comics on my credit card and has progressed to bigger and bigger packages, some with a decidedly sinister vibe.
‘‘When, son, did you start to go off the rails?’’ I implore, after Jason (or was it Dane?) delivers a package that looks suspiciously like a machine gun.
Turns out it was a camera tripod, but there’s no harm in checking.
Antisocial friends say their couriers are the only people who are welcome on their doorstep these days.
Somebody has to bubble-wrap those parcels.
But also in demand are chiropractors, who have a steady stream of people hobbling into their practices with aches and pains from hunching over computers and other devices.
My chiropractor says this is now 20per cent of his work and it includes a lot of younger people, some still at school.
He reckons the same applies to physios, massage therapists and even doctors. And there are some old jobs that are making a comeback, thanks to the digital age.
Door-to-door salesmen, for example, have returned.
They were a godsend in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s for stay-at-home mums, many of whom didn’t drive cars back then.
Last year, 1.3 million sales were conducted door-to-door in Australia, most of them related to energy services, but a percentage are sales of goods bought cheap from the internet.
However, back to the lovely Sarah, who could never be replaced by a microchip.
We are almost done with dinner, leaving her time to cast a critical eye over my skin.
‘‘You’re looking a little saggy, specially around the jawline,’’ she says.
‘‘IshthanythingIcandobout it, Shara?’’ I slur after the lion’s share of two bottles of dehydrating red wine.
‘‘How about an intense citrus-infused seaweed facial next time you pop in?’’ she suggests.
We clink glasses to seal the deal and share a taxi for the trip home, pleased to see the driver is still flesh and blood.