All The News That’s Fit To Print

July 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm (Cussed Dumbers, In Memoriam, Sweet sticky things, Waxing Nostalgic)

I joke with baristas all the time, “I wish I had an app that would give me back all the minutes that I spend waiting in line at Starbucks to hand someone exact change.”

For twenty years, Sister delivered the Oregonian, and I was the beneficiary of her complimentary daily copy. She’d read it, I’d take it to work and read it, then pass it along to someone else. Often, it would be a customer looking for the day’s copy that we’d sold out. Three reads per newspaper seems as conscientious as any other form of recycling.

Daily went to four-a-week delivery. Then it got so far between customers that she could no longer do her route on foot, so she retired from newspaper delivery and began working at a hotel. Every day there would be newspapers, and she would bring me the daily, as well as the New York Times and other random hometown papers left behind. Again, I would take them to work, then share. Usually with folks wouldn’t read, and certainly wouldn’t pay for information.

When her gig at the hotel ended, I was on my own. Home delivery might have been an option, but that’s only four days a week. I like DAILY news. I like having something light to read at work when it gets quiet for a minute. But it can’t be too heavy; I can read the same paragraph three or four times while being interrupted for lottery redemption, free books of matches and so on. Books only work on major holiday nights. I read a whole book on Xmas day when I work.

Master P’s was a newsstand when I started. Magazines as far as the eye could see. A porno section with something for almost everyone. (No incest or animals. Straight from the office.) Little by little it all went away. First the car mags, then the Smithsonians, tabloids, horoscope books. Newspapers went away about three years ago, as did the porn pit. I now have a stock line:

“We used to be a newsstand, but the internet won. Now we just sell you stuff to keep you awake while you play with your phone.”

And I still have to scavenge for a goddamn newspaper.

Starbucks was my unlikely ally. If I got there early enough in the day, I could have the previous day’s copies of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or the Oregonian if I’d missed a day. I knew the baristas by name, and if I showed up close to closing? “Go ahead and take them, ain’t nobody looking for that at night.”

I know, I can find everything on my phone. I KNOW. I have embraced smartphone culture, somewhat, but I like holding books and newspapers, in my hands. I don’t want to have to open Photoshop to do my Fambly Circus fun.

So, little by little everything I know is dying. In three months newspapers will be such an annoyance to find that I will give up and let them die. (I will never stop reading, but if you want my eyes looking at your ads? I have to be able to find them first.) I had been thinking of doing a lighthearted series of things in and around my life that I used to love, find important, or otherwise interesting. To record the memories before they fade away forever. I had some pretty good ideas.

Then some real death came along and fucked up my whole year.

My longtime love interest, roommate and occasional bestest friend, passed away a few months ago. I’ve been meaning to write her the granddaddy of all love letters, but it’s coming slow. I know what I want to say, but I know it’s gonna tear me up, and I don’t want to have to be in public after. But, as Bro-in-Law said, “You need closure.” He’s right. I miss her every day, even though we’d been apart for a couple years. We still talked on the phone a lot, and when she found out I hadn’t been with anyone since she left? “Ya wanna come over?”

“:)-”

Now that’s love.

Her death took me by surprise, and yet it didn’t. It has caused me to embrace every day, and to appreciate more those I appreciate already. Babe, your love letter is coming, straight from my heart.

But first I have to limp on down to the Starbucks and see if any Sunday papers are left…

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