m wood pen

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m wood airstream dreams "nightfall"

i’ve done the unthinkable.

while my plump, rolled, ready sunday new york times sits in it’s blue bag wrap on the other side of the house, i spent an inordinate amount of time this morning reading the nyt online.

i feel sort of sick about it, actually.

it happened by accident, i swear.  i was up early, tiptoeing off to the kitchen to make my very strong cup of coffee, being especially quiet so as not to wake my special sleepover guests last night.  a busy day and night kept me pretty much away from home for the entire 15 hour saturday, and my dog and cat were so bereft when i finally got home last night, i relaxed the no pets in my bed embargo and tossed them both atop the covers.

so, like toddlers who you hope will just sleep a little longer, savoring my time to just ‘be’, the still before the storm of letting them out, filling their bowls with kibble, i grabbed my coffee, threw a wool sweater on and crawled back into bed with my laptop and a stack of work to be done.  efficient, and cozy all at once, and as i type, hours later, astro and chin chin are still cuddled up to me fast asleep!

so my plan, as i said, was to work.  a bit of research for an illustration came first, and then some follow up work on a few articles that i have to write this week were the big finish to my very productive early sunday morning itinerary.

i should have known better.  flipping on my macbook and clicking on safari and guess what? it’s got that name for a reason!  off i went on an adventure when i spotted a nyt (it’s my home page) article about chelsea clinton embracing her public persona despite trying really hard for 31 years to ignore it….4 pages of that, and i was off and running.  more articles, the arts, a dab of political unrest, a kind of sad piece by dominique browning that prompted me to click onto her blog to find something a little more hopeful…i really couldn’t stop.

despite how sad i am that this is so easy to do, so pleasurable, to click from one piece to the next, to tap into world after world, mind after mind, image after image….it’s so good and here i am, with a sickening acceptance that this universe is now passing firmly and decisively into a norm that has nothing to do with all of the wonderful things that surrounded my entire life.  and i’m one of the masses who have embraced the incredible of invention and progress, guilty pleasure as it is.

last night i watched ‘that touch of mink’ with my birthday buddy.  we share the exact same birthday as well as the exact same insane love of hollywood, film and most notably, doris day.  to round off our great evening that included watching ‘the descendants’ (loved it), dining on lobster-stuffed black and white ravioli (insanely good), and exchanging news and presents, we popped in that beloved movie and savored in a world of cary grant wooing our favorite gal in a world surrounded by rotary phones, automats, pan american airplanes with really wide seats, curlers (okay, it’s not like any of us are going to miss those), men standing up when a lady entered the room, manners, morals and mischief.

thank goodness for film.  at this point, on the tip of turning fifty-two, i see what it is to experience the extinction of worlds.  i’m evolved, i have evolved, i get it, i can keep up with just about everything as it slides along on the big conveyor belt of progress and invention, but it doesn’t mean that i don’t think it was better before.  that grass is greener cliche rings true for me when i dip my mind into this nostalgic place, especially after coming clean about reading nearly an entire news PAPER on my laptop.  am i part of the masses that exact change, sometimes, without really having a say?

but i do want a say.  spotting a post that my friend shared (yes, i went over to facebook too…) added to my woes.  apparently, the post office cuts are prompting a slower delivery of first class mail.  what’s next?  no mail at all?  no stamps?  no envelopes, no dreamy cursive from a lover with earnest proclamations?  no chunky scratchy thank you notes from my little nephew arriving in a laboriously hand addressed envelope?

what is going on that none of us, or not enough of us, are supporting the things that we love?

clearly, i’m as bad as the next guy over this new york times online gaffe.  trust me, i’m never doing it again, i’m sticking with my big newspaper, despite it’s rattling and turning my fingertips a bit inky.  i read just yesterday the obituary of a fellow who, for decades, served as the layout designer for the nyt, responsible for the bold headings on the special sections that the paper introduced in the 80s.  i mean, people spend a lot of time working, writing, designing, editing, traveling, reporting.

why is it fair that any of us expect to get all of this stuff for free?  or not to appreciate the way it looks and feels to actually hold something tangible in our hands?

so, as i step off of my soapbox, officially step up and out for the day, i’ve decided a few things.  i am going to go rogue.  my christmas shopping will all be done locally.  sorry kids, revise your lists.  now, local might mean a town besides the one i’m in, for obvious reasons…but i want to keep things old fashioned.  i will find little shops, real people, face to face merry greetings, pay little volunteer children to wrap an occasional present, toss my coins into the salvation army buckets, buy plenty of real books from the list of local indie booksellers i’ve just printed out.  sorry tom hanks, f-o-x, but in my world, it’s meg ryan and the little shop around the corner who’s going to get my money.

i’m going to smile at strangers, hear the jingle of bells as i shop doors open and close, watch how happy the hunting and gathering of all of us spreads this unspeakable joy, of being alive, of sharing this magic, very real, very present moment.  i’m going to buy a fresh few sheets of stamps from my nice friendly post office, send christmas cards and new years wishes far and wide, hand written, heartfelt, and hope, just hope, that especially now, at christmas time, we all just slow down.  appreciate.  don’t be in such a mad rush for the next thing because before you know it, everything familiar will be gone.

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