Episode 670 (197) Retirement, Alarm clock and the News
This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.
Retirement meant I could destroy my alarm clock. I never did like alarm clocks. I mean, what a way to start the day? “Alarm” what does that word mean? Get ready for trouble. Watch out. Danger’s close. Prepare for trouble. Is your job or your life that bad? Is this anyway to start each day? “The British are coming. The British are coming.” Paul Revere lives for many of us each and every day.
Alarms should ring when your house is on fire; when an intruder breaks in; when someone robs a bank. Given a choice I would rather start the day in a gentle fashion – birds chirping, soft music, waves gently lapping at the shore.
I know people who wake up to the news. It is their alarm clock. I suppose a lot of people start their day this way. Maybe they even have clock televisions that wake people? They probably do. War, pestilence, and famine. – mixed with weather alerts, advertising and market reports. How many of us need to know the big winners and losers on Wall Street - on a daily basis? I can’t even imagine starting a day with an alarm radio or television.
In the “good old” days news traveled slowly. A person might hear of a tragic epidemic, a multiple murder and suicide, or of a gigantic beast headed your way ever so rarely. News was limited. People would take it in doses spaced out over time.. The rest of life could be lived in peace. But today – bad news comes like a daily blizzard. Fear and anxiety are reaffirmed every waking hour. Or perhaps a callous indifference becomes normal.
A lot of electronic news is boringly repetitious. “The President does this. The senate or house does this”. Then it is repeated all day long, week long, or even for months. Arguments are made over one thing or another and repeated and repeated. Why should we spend time listening to inane chatter?
I like to take my news in print. I can read about it, pause, stop, start, and consider if I want to go on. I can also take it in my own space and time. I can of course never take news before lunch. At least my morning can be pleasant – without interference from politicians, criminals, or corporations inserting themselves into my breakfast and morning coffee? I should be entitled to read a few pages from a novel, listen, or play some music, go out for a walk or bike ride – look at a few flowers, or the sky, without images of “news” filtering and staining my vision.
I don’t want to imply that one shouldn’t keep informed about the community, state, country or world. It is just the method with which I take issue. In a recent telephone conversation after finding out that we didn’t have a television the other person seriously said, “But how are you going to get the news”? I found that question as strange as she probably found my statement that we didn’t have a television.
There are many places one can go for a news fix today. As for me, I scan the local paper – just to check community type stuff and familiar names – this only takes a few minutes. And there are a couple of local weekly newspapers that are a must for local news and strong opinions. Then there is the Digital Edition of The New York Times. It is cheap, current and of course – it is the New York Times. Plus it is digital and it feels good to bypass paper wasting old fashioned newsprint. I get a bit of news from various media from social media seeps in my vision. I try to really limit that. I try to just look at stuff that is about the lives of my real friends.
As for radio, NPR has suffered such a political beating and budget cut barrage that it barely limps along as a weak reminder of days gone by. It isn’t what it used to be. And the advertising is a real turn off.
Since we live and spend almost one-half of our time in Canada we are used to having the CBC as a source of information. “As It Happens” is our favorite. NPR pales in comparison. We are often commenting, “You would never hear this on NPR”. Podcasts serve as another source of selected news: The Daily from the NYT, Fresh Air, This American Life, Radio Lab and a few others on occasion.
Today, more than ever, one needs to take control of one’s news intake. Almost all of it is bad and very depressing. We need to be informed but not overwhelmed.
So there you have it - my rant about alarms, alarm clocks, and the news. I don’t mean to pontificate – I just mean to rant. There is more to life than today's news.
This is Retirement Talk.