Monday, April 18, 2016
#MicroblogMondays: Read all about it
For as long as I can remember, I've had a newspaper delivered to my doorstep, and read it (or at least browsed through it), cover to cover.
I guess it all started with my mother. She grew up with a daily paper at home, which my grandfather would usually bring home at lunchtime, and when were there to visit, I would help him complete the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble, scan the news, read Ann Landers, pore over the listings for all the movie theatres in far-off Minneapolis, and wonder how long it would take for the same movies to come to whatever small Canadian Prairie town we were living in at the time.
And so the daily newspaper was delivered to our house when I was growing up, too. Even when I was living in a university dorm for my four years of undergrad, I had the local city newspaper delivered to my door -- lots of us did. You have to remember this was a good 15 years before the Internet became a household thing. Our dorms weren't wired for cable, so if you were lucky enough to have a TV in your room -- probably, like mine, a 12-inch black & white set -- you had to settle for a handful (like, about four) local channels for news & entertainment, pulled in with a set of rabbit ears (antenna). When John Lennon was murdered in December 1980, I watched a bit of coverage on TV, but there was no CNN or other 24-hour news channel -- I listened round the clock to the music and news and talk on the radio. And then read about it all in the paper the following day.
I think the only time in my life when I didn't get a daily paper delivered was when I was at journalism school -- and I didn't need to then, because when we arrived at school every morning, there were two large stacks of newspapers waiting for us: the local city paper and The Globe & Mail, "Canada's national newspaper." I read them both. :) Our profs wanted us to get into the habit -- after all, this was the business we all wanted to get into, right? -- and would give us regular quizzes on current events to make sure we were paying attention.
When dh & I got married, I continued my two-paper-a-day habit, subscribing to both the G&M and Toronto Star. The papers would be on our doorstep when we came downstairs for breakfast, and I would sort the sections into my preferred reading order, scan the headlines while I ate my breakfast, then tuck them into my briefcase and read them on our daily commute to & from the office, discarding the sections I'd read into the nearest recycling bin as we exited the train. We also got the Sunday New York Times delivered, as well as a three-times-weekly free/voluntary payment local paper, stuffed fat with flyers.
Which is why the phone calls I had to make this past week were so difficult.
Dh & I went to visit our new condo building last week to meet briefly with the property manager and discuss the details of our upcoming move. While we were there, I asked him whether the building residents were able to get newspaper delivery. The guy looked at me like I had two heads, & then shook his. So unless I want to buzz in a delivery guy every morning at an ungodly predawn hour, that means no more daily paper at my doorstep. My last Globe & Mail was delivered on Saturday, and the final Toronto Star & Sunday New York Times yesterday.
No more scanning the headlines while I eat my breakfast.
No more lingering over a particularly interesting story.
No more ripping out or clipping especially interesting stories to save (although I've been trying to get out of this habit for awhile -- if I find a story of particular interest these days, I'll look it up online & bookmark it).
No more stumbling onto a familiar name in the obituaries.
No more unexpected bargains found in the ads.
No more notices for interesting exhibits and events at local venues.
No more flyers to plan my shopping around.
Yes, yes, I know, all of this information is available online. And we do watch the suppertime newscasts most evenings, so we will get the main news of the day that way. But scrolling through headlines on your laptop is not the same as scanning full stories in a physical paper. You have to deliberately seek things out on the Internet. It's the difference between searching for a book on Amazon vs strolling through the aisles of a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, having an interesting title or cover catch your eye, picking up the book, reading the flyleaf and scanning the first chapter -- perhaps a book you never might have heard of or thought to pick up until you spotted it.
Yes, I know newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur (or so people say). I know only "old people" like me still read the paper in its physical form.
Yes, I will save trees (and money -- even if I get a digital paper subscription, it costs a lot less than subscribing to the physical paper). Eventually, I will get used to looking for information online instead of on paper. (I guess this means I won't be reducing my time online anytime soon...!) And dh is happy he won't have to haul stacks of newspapers out to the curb (well, to the building's garbage room now) for recycling every week.
Regardless of the benefits of giving up the paper, and of this move generally -- and I know this will sound silly to some people -- I felt a very real sense of grief and loss when I made the phone calls to cancel my long-time subscriptions, and when there was no paper on my doorstep or at the breakfast table for me to read this morning as I ate my oatmeal and sipped my orange juice and tea. There's been a lot of positives and benefits to this move, of course -- but there have also been losses and things I've had to give up, and this is one of them. The newspaper has been a big part of my daily routine, my life and my identity, for almost all of my life. It's a very strange feeling to have to give that up and let it go.
Are you a news junkie like me?? Do you read the daily newspaper? Do you have it delivered to your home?
(Postscript: I had this post pre-written & ready to go... and of course, when we opened our door this morning, there was the G&M. Make a liar out of me, won't you?? lol So things didn't unfold exactly the way I described. But they will, soon.)
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.