Farewell to Sundays in Bed with the Paper
Sundays in bed with the paper have almost been completely eradicated by two silent and slacked jawed people staring at their phones. The only break in the silence is a grunt as they shove their phone in your face saying ‘did you see this?’
If there isn’t an immediate response, the next statement is an exasperated ‘I’ll just send you the link.’
I know we’re in bed together, but let me send you a link to something that we could just be talking about right now.
The short conversations and observations that normally get made about an article of interest in a paper are replaced with the sound of nothing. Sometimes the occasional ad jars you out of your zombie-like stupor by making loud noises and flashing bright colors at you, forcing an interaction. Those are quickly scrolled past so it can be quiet again while you continue to stare at other people’s lives.
My favorite part of the Sunday paper was always knowing the exact section you wanted to read and opening the paper like a present you’d been waiting for all week.
For most people reading the paper has been replaced by getting information from the phone that’s attached to their hands like a rusty shackle that could fall off at the slightest nudge, but no one bothers to even try and remove it. News isn’t really important. It’s important to frantically search to check and see if they’ve made any memories that they don’t recall, but more importantly were they tagged in the photo to make sure that the world knows they were there.
I miss trading sections of the paper by the simple question ‘done with this?’ when you reach into the big pile of words on the bed. And they way the paper covers your whole face like a wall of information but could be lowered when a conversation was started. I miss seeing someone look over the paper because they were still aware of you and could manage to do two things at once such as engaging in a brief conversation before going back to their reading without losing their train of thought. The quiet crinkle of the paper being folded the only noise. Phones absorb you. No one is on the same page. No one seems to be interested in learning anything when there is a new story to read before you finish the current one. Most people just accept what they see as facts and keep scrolling.
I miss the Sunday paper being the part of every week. It was exciting to finally get the whole story instead of the tidbits and pieces that you received all week in the dailies. I loved how it took up full pages giving you whole stories that had been fact checked, and I loved when it directed you to the ‘continued on’ page because that meant more was coming.
Now it’s a steady stream of misspelled words and misinformation. People’s phones have replaced facts. Moments in time are edited to fit any particular narrative of the person’s thoughts and beliefs. One person’s funny video of a pizza eating rat can become someone else’s soapbox for sanitation issues, and possibly an example of animal cruelty.
Something else I miss is keeping your opinions to yourself. One word typed into a comment section via electronic device can incite racist and sexist arguments that have nothing to do with the story you were reading. When you send in an opinion piece to a paper, you take extra time to think about what you’re saying, and if they publication thinks your opinion is trash, it usually doesn’t get posted.
I miss when having a spilled cup of coffee on a paper was a minor irritation that was solved with a napkin and a curse word instead of a spilled coffee on a phone eliciting hysterics and a search for rice that should be reserved only for losing a child or a diamond ring.
One of my favorite things is seeing newspapers that have been left behind at bus stops and at tables of restaurants. I love that it’s placed somewhere other people can enjoy it. It’s like a beacon to those of us that still enjoy communicating by the written and fact checked word instead of being reactionary towards a split second of unfounded information that’s been written by anyone, anytime, anywhere. The world doesn’t exist just because we see it on a screen. I think some people are so disconnected to reality that they feel like if they aren’t connected to a phone at all times they’re going to miss something important. We, who aren’t staring at our phones, will be the first ones to see the important thing coming. I like that the newspaper explains things and can be used to spark conversations and not petty arguments. The newspaper isn’t without its faults. But the newspaper has a section where it rights its wrongs via retractions. The people posting news on the internet have already moved onto the next thing they’re conjuring up to get a response, with no apologies for what they lied to you about.
I say boo to phones on Sunday. Let that day of rest be given to our phones as well as to ourselves. Throw your phone in a drawer and have an actual discourse in real life, face to face, bad breath and all.