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Sunday, October 9, 2011

The newspaper at the end of the drive

Sunday mornings I stagger out and walk down the drive in the dew filled morning with the Canadian geese honking and my neighbors homes looking less suburban in the christening light of dawn and there on the end of the drive in blue is my newspaper. It is a fat rolled information log of New York Times descent that I scoop up and carry back in for my coffee and pancakes to start my Sunday ritual. That is until about a week ago when the my delivery was unceremoniously halted for nonpayment. The digital age just took another small step into my life.

I had the three day delivery package of Friday Saturday and Sunday. My suburb of Chicago is a bit of a stones throw from NY so I pay a little  more I figure. And I have bounced along paying my roughly forty dollars a month for the extreme pleasure of seeing that blue rolled harbinger of the world at the end of my driveway. I cant tell you how upset I was the few times it did not arrive, harassing some poor customer service rep who assured me it would appear in a few hours. It never did, but that was related to the fifteen or sixteen year old or the mom working the night shift who flung my paper in the wee hours of dawn.

But the reason my delivery stopped was that my bill had grown out of control. I am not sure why but suddenly  I was down one hundred and forty bucks. And the bill had a way of climbing. Maybe late fees, maybe I missed a payment. But suddenly I was coasting toward two hundred bucks for the privilege of having a newspaper at the end my driveway. Times being what they are I let it go and the Times declared my account suspended and my Sunday ritual changed. No longer was the paper there waiting for me and no longer did I feel that excitement when I picked up the voice of the world.

It had been replaced by a nanosecond of anticipation in my Kindle. .99 was the cost for a quick download and just like that the newspaper at the end of my drive had been replaced. I was not crazy about this development but I was used to reading on my Kindle and like everything else it had become driven by economics. Sitting down with my coffee and small screen may not be the same as the spread out newspaper, but it was better than nothing and I could afford it.

I promise myself that I will straighten out my account and pay up and get my delivery fired up again. I do want that moment of seeing the paper lying there waiting for me as a sort of postscript of the week. It had become a marker for one week ending and another beginning. But there is that feeling that this ritual might be historical and I might just get used to the digital paper and never go back.

 I guess I could leave my kindle on the end of the drive and pick that up. Or have the newspaper lady fling it there to give it authenticity. It might work.

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Books by William Hazelgrove