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Cannot end news addiction

POSTED: May 21, 2013 5:48 p.m.
 

I’ve have previously written about my news addiction, but I think it may be getting worse.

I wasn’t always like this, by the way. My dad loved the news and newspapers in general, so it was something we talked about. He also loved history, passing that love on to me as well. An odd child, I think I was 11 when I read my first James Michner novel.

My real news addiction problem began while in college. Our professors wanted us to be “up” on current events. Many required we make a stop at the library before coming to class and read as many newspapers as we could.

If you were running late and thought you could “fake” it, they always knew who you were and would embarrass you as they quizzed you on certain topics. Remember this was before you could get your news simply by looking at your cell phone as you strolled across campus.

You may think having four young children close in age would have deterred my newsaholism, but it didn’t. I would sneak away during the day to get a fix, during nap time or when Barney was blurting out his annoying songs. Also I would stay up later to catch up on things I missed due to our crazy schedules.

During the O.J. Simpson trial, I’m pretty sure I should have received the “worst parenting award” as I let our youngest watch hours and hours of children’s programming while I was glued to the set.

Most everybody remembers where they were when that verdict went down. I was standing in our kitchen, watching my tiny TV. For once, you might say, I was speechless.

I got a laptop when they were still fairly new; it cost way more than the subsequent ones I have had, and was all in all a pretty bad computer. But back then, we didn’t know any different.

Dial-up Internet was dial-up Internet. When broadband came around, my husband was first in line. Now that was exciting. Pretty soon, wireless connections made it possible for me to be anywhere in the house and have complete news access from my computer.

I did not get a smartphone when they first came out. Until you have one, you don’t really know what all the fuss is about.

Having four kids means our cell phone plan is complicated. Whose turn it is to upgrade is always at issue.

Being happy with my phone, I took a back seat and let the squabblers proceed to fight. Then, for Christmas one year, Santa brought me a smartphone.

After a few hours, I wanted to petition to rename them “genius phones.” It was as if the “news gods” had designed something just for me. With the touch of an app, I instantly knew what was happening everywhere. Heaven.

All of that to let you know that recently, we changed Internet providers (can you say nightmare?) and on the second day, it cut out (Internet and television) about every five minutes.

Sometimes every minute. Sometimes it would stay out for hours. Or minutes. There was no pattern. This went on for a week.

Big deal, you may be thinking. Well, maybe for you. There was one day that stood out as the worst: The first day of the Bengazhi hearings. The day of a speech from a family spokesman for the three women held captive for 10 years by that monster in Cleveland. The day the Jody Arias verdict was going to be read. Needless to say, I was frantic.

Luckily, texting on my smartphone was working, so I sent out an SOS to a few friends who understand my problem, alerting them to keep me updated.

One of my friends said, “That is sad.” Whatever, just keep me posted.

Thankfully, the repairman arrived (four hours after he said he would), and after a few tense minutes on my part, it was fixed. I turned on all three TVs, so wherever I went I could hear the news and various updates.

By the time Paul got home from work, I was much better. He knew all about my day since I had sent him 50 text messages to keep him up to date.

Knowing him well, I figured he read the first three.

He said, “So how did the Dow close today?” I opened my mouth to tell him, and then I saw his smile and realized he was teasing me.

He doesn’t suffer from my news problem and could have cared less what the Dow did that day.

I turned off the TV and told him I was done for the day. He laughed and said he doubted it.

I waited until he left the kitchen before I walked over and looked at the battery charge on my cell phone and saw it was 100 percent.

I could relax.

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.com.

 

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