Every morning at 6:15 go out to pick up my Bag O’ News from the end of my driveway.
It waits for me and I go to it a eagerly—a human bear just awaking from my mini-hibernation, hungry for my fish in its plastic blue bag delivered to me by some unseen benevolent zoo keeper. I grab it and return to my den to devour it in peace.
This ritual is a part of my day and on those rare occasions when the paper is not there, I stop short, confused, discombobulated. I look all around, under cars, in the bushes and then just sort of stand there, unsure of what to do next.
I am not alone in this behavior. Most people on our street take the paper and on the mornings when the paper does not come the other bears stand at the end of their driveways and we stare at one another and make our confused, early morning bear sounds.
When I was growing up I never thought I would be a paper reader. It used to drive me crazy the way my parents would sit in their chairs and read the paper, cover to cover. I used to roll my eyes and scream a silent scream. BORING!
Now, however, I am the bear at the end of my driveway picking up my daily fish. While some of our neighbors get the LA Times, I can’t handle that kind of big paper commitment, so I go for the smaller local county paper. It’s a combination of real paper (elections, wars, zoning commission reports) and funky hometown news (girl paints shoes for Iranian children, head lice infestations up in local schools.)
As I mentioned earlier, I read the paper first thing in the morning in bed and because I am Betty, you’d better believe there is order and structure to the whole process.
Number One: I pull out Sports Section and place beside me for Mabel to rest on. She loves a fresh paper and especially enjoys sprawling her extra large body across pictures of silly humans chasing assorted balls.
Then I proceed in this order:
A. Front Page/Section
B. National News/World News (skim this part)
C. County News
D. Arts and Living (intense reading of this part)
Yes, there are rules and schedules even within these sections. I won’t go into each one except to say that I once read Annie’s Mailbox BEFORE Dr. Gott and it pretty much rocked my world, so I don’t play loose and fast with the rituals any more.
Surprising Fact: I read only one comic strip—“Zits.”
Also, I always read the horoscope, which rates our days from 1 to 5 stars, and if it’s 4 or 5 star day, I announce it to HOB. If mine is a very low star day I go with the “I-was-born-on-the-cusp” defense and travel on to the next sign.
Alas, I am the only newspaper reader in my family and when it’s time to check movie times I sprint in to get the page with the schedule, hoping to beat the others who are tapping away on their I-Touches, cell phones and computers. I feel the need to show them that the black, white and “read all over” page still has a place in the world even if it’s just to search for that tiny box on Page 1, Section C.
I know the newspaper is on the endangered species list. I’ve read about the elimination of several major newspapers. It makes me sad to think that someday my own little town’s paper may have to fold. I would miss it, and the daily routine that starts off my day with a trip out into the world, rain or shine, Monday through Sunday.
That’s when I get an extra big fish I get to carry in and feast upon. That one has slick, colorful coupon entrails as well!
Wishing you all five star days!