Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 197 Retirement, Alarm clock and the News


Retirement meant I could destroy my alarm clock. I never did like alarm clocks. I mean, what a way to start the day? “Alarm” what does that word mean? Get ready for trouble. Watch out. Danger’s close. Prepare for trouble. Is your job, or your life, that bad? Is this anyway to start each day? “The British are coming. The British are coming.” Paul Revere lives for many of us each and every day.


This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.


Alarms should ring when your house is on fire; when an intruder breaks in; when someone robs a bank. Given a choice, I would rather start the day in a gentle fashion – birds chirping, soft music, waves gently lapping at the shore.


I know people who wake up to the news. I suppose a lot of people start their day this way. Maybe they even have clock televisions that wake people. They probably do. War, pestilence, and famine. – mixed with weather alerts, advertising and market reports. How many of us need to know the big winners and losers on Wall Street - on a daily basis? I can’t even imagine starting a day with an alarm radio or television.


In the “good old” days news traveled slowly. A person might hear of a tragic epidemic, a multiple murder and suicide, or of a gigantic beast headed your way ever so rarely. News was limited. People would take it in doses spaced out over time.. The rest of life could be live in peace. But today – bad news come like a daily blizzard. Fear and anxiety are reaffirmed every waking hour. Or, perhaps a calloused indifference.


A lot of electronic news is boringly repetitious. “The President does this. The senate or house does this”. Then it is repeated all day long, week long or even for months. Arguments are made over one thing or another and repeated and repeated. Why should we spend time listening to the inane chatter.


I like to take my news in print. I can read about it, pause, stop, start, and consider if I want to go on. I can also take it in my own space and time. I can of course never take news before lunch.  At least my morning can be pleasant – without interference from politicians, criminals, or corporations inserting themselves into my breakfast and morning coffee? I should be entitled to read a few pages from a novel, listen, or play some music, go out for a walk or bike ride – look at a few flowers, or the sky, without images of “news” filtering and staining my vision.


I don’t want to imply that one shouldn’t keep informed about the community, state, country or world. It is just the method with which I take issue. In a recent telephone conversation after finding out that we didn’t have a television the other person seriously said, “But how are you going to get the news”? I found that question as strange as she probably found my statement that we didn’t have a television.


There are many places one can go for a news fix today. As for me, I scan the local paper – just to check community type stuff and familiar names – this only takes a few minutes. And there are a couple of local weekly newspapers that are a must for local news and strong opinions.  Then there is the Digital Edition of The New York Times. It is cheap, current and of course – it is the New York Times. Plus it is digital and it feels good to bypass paper wasting old fashioned newsprint. I have a couple of on-line magazines that I check most every day. “The Tyee” is one that a friend publishes in Canada. Then there are the magazines: “The Nation, The New Yorker, Harpers, and Wired”. And of course there are all of the newsletters from various organizations. The reading list seems long but I try to limit time spent on this effort to “keep informed. I skip lots of stuff.


As for radio, NPR has suffered such a political beating and budget cut barrage that it barely limps along as a weak reminder of days gone by. Since we live and spend almost one-half of our time in Canada we are use to having the CBC as a source of information. NPR pales in comparison. We are often commenting, “You would never here this on NPR”.


I must admit that there are some shows on NPR that can be very informative and entertaining. I can get them on air or via their podcasts, None of them are presented as news shows.


So there you have it - my rant about alarms, alarm clocks, and the news. I don’t mean to pontificate – I just mean to rant.


This is Retirement Talk.




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