Sunday, March 20, 2011

staying delightfully uninformed since 1988

It is 11:12 on Sunday night and I haven't left my apartment today.  I really intended to, I had plans to go running and maybe poke around some shops in the Marais or enjoy the sunshine after 2 days of gloom in a park or along the Seine.  I kept telling myself I'd go.  "Right after I finish reading this article."

I'm not really all that embarrassed to say that I spend the entire day exploring the New York Times website in an effort to become more informed in what sounds suspiciously like another Middle East situation on which I will eventually be required to become well-versed.  It has given me a deceptive feeling of productivity, and a small sense of sophistication as I sipped my tea and read about worldly things.  But when I suddenly realized that my entire day had been sucked up by a single news website, it made me seriously wonder how The Informed remain so and still maintain friendships, a full time job, a life at all.

We all know those people; the ones who are on top of every political decision along with well-sourced information about the history behind and possible wide-sweeping ramifications of said decision.  Or the ones who somehow manage to know about (and sometimes acquire) every new technology and gadget seemingly before it becomes available to the rest of us.  Or who amazingly know and remember every score of every sporting event when I'm barely aware that it was going on, let alone finished and finalized.  I really have a new respect for those people.

I always think of the stereotypical person who puts on slippers and a robe (I've only seen these people on TV or movies, I don't know any real person who wears slippers or robes over pajamas, or even pajamas, really) when they awake painfully early to coffee that's either already made in a machine with a timer, or in a French press (because it seems like that's something sophisticated, informed people would use), and then sit down to their full breakfast of eggs and toast and OJ and manage to read the newspaper and eat at the same time without the oversized paper folding down or the pages refusing to turn properly or the cat coming to lie on it or spilling coffee on it and rendering it unreadable, all while watching the sunrise through the east-facing windows of a breakfast nook (I don't even really know what a breakfast nook is).  I'm not convinced this person actually exists.  When I imagine the more realistic counterpart of this fantasy morning routine, I think about hitting the snooze button 3 times too many, rushing about barely having time to put on regular clothes, let alone intermediate loungewear, and being lucky to grab a banana or granola bar on your way out the door (or more likely, stopping for coffee and a hash brown at McDonald's).  Add that to getting home around 6ish, making dinner, possibly adding kids to the mix, and all the other realities of life (from my perspective, anyway) and I really don't understand how any Average Joe/Jane finds the time to become a member of the mysterious and elite club of The Informed.  Who are they and how do they do it?  All I'm sure about is that they exist mainly to make the rest of us feel inferior over dinner conversation.

People wonder why our generation is so ambivalent to the news.  I'd argue that we are overwhelmed by the huge amount of information and the time it takes to really take it all in, as I'm fairly sure we are bombarded by massively more headlines at any given time than were previous generations.  Having increased access to information via internet and social media does not correspond with more hours in the day.  But even so, if anyone can share some of this Wisdom of The Informed with the rest of us commoners, I would very much appreciate it.

In other news, I tried making instant mashed potatoes but used too much milk/water and didn't have enough potato to thicken it up so after 20 minutes of simmering and stirring I gave up and ate mashed potato soup. Still tastes the same, and it is actually easier to evenly distribute salt/butter.  Maybe I'm on to something here.

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