Try it sometime. Shut down your computer. Turn off the phone. Toss aside the TV remote.
Take a chance that the world won’t miss you, nor you it, if you live outside its wired tentacles for just a few days.
We’re just finishing four days at a West Coast wedding. It included this equation:
68 hours + zero technology + zero planning, editing and writing = 9 or 10 miles of city walking; lots of talk, laughter and music; 1 throwaway mystery (read), and time to catch up with 3 back issues of the New Yorker. That’s one winning equation.
I did learn a bit, too. Here were a few short New Yorker excerpts to whet the appetite:
Adam Gopnik on J.D. Salinger: “A self-enclosed writer doesn’t listen, and Salinger was a peerless listener: page after page of pure talk flowed out of him, moving and true and, above all, funny … The message of his writing was always the same: that, amid the malice and falseness of social life, redemption rises from clear speech and childlike enchantment, from all the forms of unselfconscious innocence that still surrounds us …”
David Remnick, accompanying a remarkable photo essay on the Civil Rights movement: “The black freedom struggle defines the American experience. It is a struggle that has applied prolonged moral and political pressure on the promises of the Constitution and America’s self-conception. Its culminating drama was Southern, nonviolent, and religious, and centered largely on (Martin Luther) King and his times .. But the struggle, which remains unfinished, is immensely more diverse and complicated than the schoolbook version.”
And finally, Hendrik Hertzberg on health care: “If the President and the Democrats of Congress fail to enact health-care reform while they still have a real chance to do so, it’s hard to see how they will be able to do anything else. The damage to their ability to govern — and the damage to the ability of this country to govern itself — will be severe.”
Hertzberg’s paragraph seemed particularly on point as California’s largest insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, moved to hike rates for individuals buying their own insurance by 39 percent statewide.
Let me reenforce his point: Do something now, Democrats, or die come November.
Hey, I never said I quit reading the news. But reading it on paper, in a bed-and-breakfast garden, at my own pace, on newsprint. Now to me, that’s just about heaven.