Today being Sunday, for some reason I started thinking about another venerable piece of media fallen on hard times – the Sunday paper. Growing up, it used to be a ritual. Sunday mornings were quiet times, with everyone flaked out exchanging sections. As a kid, of course, your first exposure was the comics. Then as you got a little older, you might start looking at the sports section, then over the years to travel, business, and the help-wanted section for a job.
Like most people, I get most of my news and casual reading done on the Net now. But the Ritual of The Sunday Paper was more than just reading, it was a tangible slowing down. Your parents didn’t go to work. Stores actually used to be closed! No lawns to mow or chores to be done. There was a palpable quietude to the day.
It seems we’ve lost that. Now, I hear people talk about “catching up” on Sundays, on emails or other tasks around the home. We seek to fill the quiet with sports or shopping – you won’t find many places closed on Sunday anymore! There just doesn’t seem to be the earned lassitude that Sundays used to have – nothing special to do, and all day to do it….
We are stuck in “always on” mode. But no matter what technology and media seem to demand, we are not made that way. We are still part of the natural world, with periods of rest needed and some kind of natural rhythm to things. Nobody can always be at “peak” all the time. Yet that is what society seems to demand. We blast through our lives, and when we feel ourselves start to lag, it’s time for a 32 ounce cup of caffeine to push us through.
Maybe this explains why people are so angry now. Like toddlers, we’re tired and cranky. We need to take a nap but there aren’t any parents to put us down and the other kids are all still playing so we want keep going.
Man is an animal. But to be a good man, you must first be a good animal. I tend to take a hint from my dog….sometimes you need to chew on a toy like your life depended on it, sometimes you need to bark and chase things, but sometimes you need to just find a sunny spot on the carpet and sleep. Or just lay there, thinking whatever it is dogs think about.
My dog probably thinks about how grateful he is that he’s a dog, because if he was one of us he’d have to chew and bark and chase all the time until it isn’t fun anymore, and never get to just lay in the sun.