Yesterday while the boys took their tennis lessons, I sat by the courts with my coffee and newspaper. What’s a newspaper, you ask? Well, boys and girls, there was a time long ago when we read our current events from printed pieces of paper. I may be the Last of the Newspaper Readers, but I am not ready to jump off my cliff yet. (Now I wish I could listen to that beautiful Last of the Mohicans soundtrack, but my only copy was on a cassette tape. Boys and girls, a cassette tape was, oh, never mind.) Actually, I know for a fact that some of my neighbors also receive the paper because I see the morning deliveries on their driveways. (So what if many of my neighbors are retired grandparents?)
The other two ladies at the picnic table were on their iPads dodging my widely expanded arms while I turned the crinkly pages back and forth to finish articles of interest. The kids got a little exercise with their rackets, and I got a little workout trying to read the news. Holding your arms outstretched for that long has to count for something.
Newspaper subscriptions are down. My in-laws’ local paper does not even print a daily edition anymore. Kindles and iPads reduce waste, are convenient, and grant access to numerous sources all in one compact device. Yet I still cannot get myself to use one. It may be the cost, but I think it is also the old-fashioned reader in me that enjoys flipping pages, newsprint layouts, and the visual of my kids knowing that I am unequivocally reading, not checking Facebook or online shopping or playing games, but purely perusing the written word. I relish seeing them doing the same by holding a book or magazine or even the newspaper.
Visions of Joy:
They do get to play on the iPhone and computer. However, just like my mom restricted watching television for me, I restrict these popular pastimes for them. They do not have a game system yet. Their boob tube watching is only for family movie nights, helping endure a sickness, or when their parents need (yes, need) to cheer on a sports game. Before you think all this makes my children want to jump off a cliff, I have to say that their imaginations know no bounds. On this summer break with plenty of free time, they will play all day from one adventure to another to the point I almost forget I have children until a sibling war requiring my intervention breaks out and reminds me.
I do love many aspects of technology. I am shamefully addicted to my smartphone. (Who remembers when Mike and I were cavemen without them?!) I appreciate the portable DVD player our more tech-savvy friends handed down to us for making road trips much more bearable. This morning I was able to use a phone app that tracked my running for me. It interrupted Pitbull’s singing to update me on my distance, time and pace after each mile. When I first started this crazy habit of running in the fall, I actually drove my car around the block to estimate my distance based on my odometer. Long gone are those days now that this app can tell me all of the above as well as my elevation changes even when I venture off roadways and down trails.
Technology is amazing. It makes life much more convenient and easy. I try to embrace those aspects to the fullest. However, I do worry that my constant status updates and Instagram pictures are robbing me of enjoying those very moments I am sharing (or maybe stopping to capture helps me enjoy them more). Besides annoyingly inundating “friends” and “followers,” I know I can dance around the proper balance. I love being connected to family and friends both near and far. I cherish their pictures and posts that keep them close to me. But I hope that my Visions of Joy do not gradually change to my boys’ heads constantly bowed down on devices and connected to social media but not to those right in front of them. That is why I love the group of moms who sit at the picnic table during tennis without their devices (or newspapers) and engage in conversation that I will miss once the lessons are over. I will subscribe to the newspaper until I really am a retired grandparent (granted that they are still printed then) if only for the wish of maintaining a little of the glories of old.
I know I’m old-fashioned, but I don’t mind it
That’s how I want to be
As long as you agree,
To stay old-fashioned with me.
– Ella Fitzgerald