Until just recently, I kind of prided myself on keeping up with the news and current events in general, listening to national and local news broadcasts, reading the Baltimore Sun daily, and several weekly/monthly magazines. After all, the downfall of civilization begins when its citizens leave government to the crazies.
On a recent 1-1/2 week trip, I left my laptop at home to devote my attention to family and was rewarded with inboxes filled with 1500 emails that I’ve only recently recovered from. Now I’m getting ready to take 6 year old Emma to the beach for a few days and don’t know if I can stand going through that ordeal again.
It’s been a brutal week with the wild gyrations of the financial markets, the report of over half a million children on the brink of starvation in Somalia, and the devastating loss of so many Special Forces troops. The cup of human kindness is looking pretty empty, and I need a break.
There’s not much I can do about the Dow. I spent so much money raising kids and grandkids that the only assets I have now are my 401K, half of my townhouse and a 13 year old car. The first two are only worth about two-thirds of what they were just a couple of years ago, and the car....well, everyday that it runs is one more day that I don’t have to worry about replacing it. Several months ago, it used to cause me enough anxiety that I actually secured a job at a local department store, but I freaked out while trying to learn how to use the computerized cash register. The sales goals seemed so unreachable that my hair started falling out, so I quit after the one-day training session and bought a box of Little Debbie Zebra cakes..
Now I write novels and hope that someday I’ll actually see some of them in bookstores. Oh, that’s right, all the bookstores are closing.
When I saw the empty eyes of the Somalian children, I felt ashamed of my pettiness, and rethought my plan to re-enter the world in another body after death. I lucked out landing here this time around. Shirley MacLaine better be careful.
Newscasts of tearful parents pleading for the return of their missing and/or murdered children plunge me into temporary depression and make me pick up the phone to call my own.
So, I’ve decided to declare a moratorium on news, concentrating on packing for the beach. It would take me about five minutes to pack for myself alone, but with the six year old, I actually have to make a list, making sure to bring bread for the seagulls, a stuffed sleeping buddy (other than me), and a fully-charged iPod.
I think I’ll pack some of those for me too.