On Sunday, I did my grocery shopping during Meet the Press. I went to a market farther away and took my time driving. I strolled slowly through the produce aisles and thumped melons, tested pears for ripeness, and decided between cut celery or a stalk of celery. I pondered whether uncut celery was correctly called a bunch or a stalk. I read all the ingredients on my Kashi cereal to make sure I was getting the most fiber, the most protein, and the least sugar. Then I drove slowly home to put the groceries away.
But I didn’t watch the news.
Later in the morning, I talked to my daughter and asked her too many questions about work, friends, and her upcoming vacation. I’m sure she thought I was prying, but I was just stalling.
Because I didn’t want to watch the news.
After the phone call, after lunch, I streamed a new series on Amazon Prime. It’s called Good Girls Revolt, and it is a time machine to 1969 and the suit women filed against Newsweek magazine to get equal work and equal pay to male reporters. They were wearing the clothes that I wore in 1969 and were told not to wear pant suits to work. I was once sent home from work for wearing gaucho pants (quite proper and business-like). I thought about how far we had come and worried about going back, but that was too close to the reality I was avoiding.
By not watching the news.
I watched the latest episodes of Indian Summers, a series I started to watch when Downton Abbey went off the air. I seem to be watching a lot of period British television now. Dancing on the Edge is also good. I also pondered why the BBC television shows are of such superior quality to most American shows. Perhaps it’s only the ones they export that are excellent. They may have garbage during the week, just like we do.
The important thing is that I did not watch the news.
Today, I think I will go walking at Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge which is close to my home. I will commune with nature which is, honestly, not my natural communing environment. I will see ibises and Cooter turtles and murderous blue herons (one ate all the ducklings in the pond behind my house). Perhaps I’ll see an alligator slinking along the riverbank. I will stroll slowly along the wooden boardwalk until I run out of boards to walk on. I will do this all at a slower clip than my normal race walking.
Anything is better than watching the news.
Tomorrow, I might do my exercise tape not once but twice and go through my extensive collections on movies from the last decade, and remember where I was when I first saw it. I will remember if I was on a date or on a family movie outing. If I don’t find anything that stirs positive memories, I will watch Wait Until Dark on TMC, my go-to movie channel. Ah, Audrey Hepburn, the “best blind lady in class,” terrorized by Alan Arkin (showing his acting chops) and Richard Crenna (who I still think of as Walter Denton in Our Miss Brooks). IMHO, this movie, an absolute favorite of mine, is one of the scariest films ever made.
But it still isn’t as scary as the news.
I will, of course, break my news fast by watching wonderful Samantha Bee and John Oliver since Jon Stewart left just when I needed him to reassure me with biting satire and actual analysis of the news I am trying to avoid.
It’s an exception, but it’s still fake news.
I should stop looking at Facebook, although I have begun posting cute baby and doggy pictures and asking people to say “amen” to the cute baby posts. This is something I never do, but I’d rather look at other people’s children and grandchildren than the breaking headlines.
I worry that what is in the news will destroy the world before they grow up.
When the lights are out and I’ve taken three kinds of sleep medicines and pray for a dreamless slumber, I have nightmares about what the world will be like after November 8 because, no matter what happens, it will never be the same, I fear.
Here is the problem. I am trying hard to avoid reality, but I can’t escape the nightmares so I awake early and start working out with exercise tapes. I’ve been told that exercise is the best way to shut off an overactive mind.
Then I will try to read a book. I just can’t focus. So, I will eat breakfast and walk the dog twice around the pond instead of once. Then, again, the day begins and I’ll work to distract myself, again.
Five days and counting…