Tuesday, May 26, 2015

So … what's going on?

No really, I want to know: What's going on?

The side effects of a 9-to-5 life (well, 9 to 5:30, sometimes 11 to 8; it gets complicated; you get the point) have begun to manifest.

I no longer know.

The world gurgles rather obliquely any more. It roars and shakes and drips with blood and anger just beyond my peripheral vision, dully beneath my mittened fingers.

I used to know.

News used to break each day's silence, the fourth task undertaken upon rising: Click on National Public Radio.

All day newspeople revealed and picked at and analyzed and repeated the day's goings on.

Granted, it was not all the news, far from it. Maybe it wasn't always the whole story. But by osmosis, at the end of the day I knew the basic causes of a coup attempt in Thailand, or some of the blunt-force nuances of gun control, or what the heck ALEC is (you really want to know, by the way. Google™® it and be afraid).

No more.

I get the vague impression of unrest having taken place in Baltimore over allegations of police brutality. I think somehow that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat and highly likely to have President Obama's back, is angry with the president instead.

Something bad happened to the New England Patriots, maybe?

Democracy depends on an informed citizenry to participate fully. I barely had the informed part down before this full-time, out-of-home job, and had mused anxiously and sometimes publicly about the participation part. I was on the brink of participation.

Now I'm no longer even informed.

It puzzles me how anyone else can (1) know and (2) act.

If religion is the opiate of the masses (though Karl Marx really said, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.") could work be far removed?

How do we keep the free state moving ahead, how do we see ahead for all the tasks on our desks, on our phone, the matters at the ends of our noses?

Most of this is on me. I did not realize how such a major change in routine would change, in a major way, how I see the world; that's naive, I'll allow.

As part of the change, I got a real mobile phone. I'm one of you now, the last holdout, sold out. I'm supposed to do more with it, though until the weekend it was mostly for looking at facebook®™ on the train and running out the battery (and running up the data, it turns out, because, again, I didn't know).

Since the weekend, thanks to my daughter's information technology sleight of hand and my son's added advice and my wife's wishes and hopes, I have the chance to become a bit better informed: My email works again.

Trying to get email to work on my computer and my phone, I made it so email stopped working on either.

Email is oxygen. It is water, as you know. I was dead for a week.

Also, my newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, took this time to wage a complete redesign. To meet the future before the future showed up, or some such marketing phrase. It asked millions of readers and devoted years to focus groups, and came up with a color-coded product that resembles a newspaper in feel if not in actual form.

I'm inclined each morning to turn The Bee upside down, in case the important news might be at the bottom. That seems so. The top of each section now features a knees-to-head full color shot of some columnist or another, wrapped in the text of his or her column. I'm not sure columns or opinions are news, or that they should be at the top of the page, or on the front of each section.

Nothing is where it used to be; the headline type is huge and whimsical and makes everything look like the features and comics section.

Where everything is now in The Bee doesn't always seem like a good idea.

Which is moot anyway, since I don't have time to read The Bee.

I'm busy color-coding folder tabs for work.

If you get a chance, tell whoever's running the world to be nice.

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