Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Much News

Yesterday I read a news story online about an actor who survived a suicide attempt. In the middle of the article there was a link to "his graphic 911 call” and readers were warned to “listen at your own discretion”. I want to know two things: #1 Why is this recording available? and #2 Who the hell would want to listen to that? Perhaps it’s some matter of public record but the situation seems so horrifying, not to mention private for this man and his family, that I simply cannot understand why anyone would participate in making this available online, and anyone who did should be ashamed of themselves.
I’m a big fan of modern technology but I think the 24 hour news business, combined with our increased access to the internet, has blurred the lines on what qualifies as news. I understand (to a certain extent) the general public’s interest in celebrity news/gossip but I know I’m not the only American who is fed up with the amount of junk that is reported. It used to be that if a story was on the nightly news, it was important. Nowadays, the news is on all the time and I think we can become over informed to the point where no one is really paying attention. It’s a sad thing because I know there are newsworthy stories happening every day that are worth our time and attention. My heart goes out to this man and his family, and to anyone who has their private tragedy publicized like this. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thanks For Not Killing Me

Now that it’s spring time (more or less), most days I like to spend about half of my lunch hour sitting cross-legged in the sun on the solitary bench outside my workplace. As the sun warms my face and hair I imagine a low battery symbol above my head, slowly recharging. The bench faces a gas station car wash and a busy intersection so I’ll usually close my eyes and try to block out the sounds with a long audible exhale to settle down and clear my mind. But sometimes I like to sit and watch the movement at the carwash and passersby. I see all these people going about their business and it occurs to me how much we rely on each other, even when we don’t realize it. Every time you get into your car or walk across the street, you’re pretty much putting your life into other people’s hands. You’re trusting that the driver next to you isn’t drunk or any other form of impaired. It’s quite amazing when you really stop to think about it. Last August I flew to New York to visit my father. At one of the connecting stops, we were delayed because the staff on the plane needed a break to eat between flights. There was a group of people gathered around grumbling and complaining loudly. I remember this very clearly because I almost spoke up. I thought to myself “These people are going to fly us through the air so as far as I’m concerned they can take as much time as they need to eat a freaking sandwich”. This particular situation (and a couple other similar ones from that trip) is what brought my attention to the fact that we are all so closely connected.
My job requires that I interact with many different people every day. Some days are definitely better than others but I like to remind myself that everybody has a story and has crossed my path for a reason. Even when the interaction isn’t pleasant I find it comforting to believe that there is a purpose for it. Sometimes I’ve found I have to have the same experience over and over until I figure out why it’s happening. I know this sounds all “zen” and everything right now but there are certainly days where I forgot my little reminders and am angry at the world. However, I’ve found that the older I get and the more life experience I gain, the easier it is to take a deep breath at the end of the day (and maybe a glass of wine) and remember all the things I have to be thankful for.