Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday paper

I tell myself there wouldn’t be a Sunday newspaper if no one ever read it. Therefore, it must be possible to do.

And I tell myself that if other people can manage to find time to read it, then surely I can too.

(Unless, of course, like me, the continuity of the Sunday paper is merely a sign that people are paying for it, not reading it. But surely not everyone can be like me.)

Come Sunday, I would dearly love to sit down and read the paper, the whole thing, all at once, in one marathon reading session.

But it never happens. Instead, I chip away at it all week long: a section while on my stationary bike on Monday morning, another section in the waiting room at the doctor’s office on Tuesday, and still another section while I sit at the end of the lane waiting for the school bus to arrive on Wednesday afternoon.

When a day like yesterday comes along when there’s barely anything blocked off on the calendar – church in the morning, and a visit from some friends in the afternoon, but those two events combined won’t take more than three hours – I think surely today I’ll sit down and read the paper.

And then the day comes, and I think “After I make breakfast for the kids, I’ll sit down and read the paper.”

And then “After I eat my own breakfast and wash the dishes, I’ll read the paper.”

No; it’s time for church. Maybe after church. But lunchtime goes the same way: I prepare something for other people; I prepare something for myself; I clean up. The paper awaits, tantalizingly full of stories, untouched.

All right then, I tell myself. No matter. Guests are arriving midafternoon. Once they leave, I’ll have nothing I need to do; I’ll sit down and read the paper.

Well, nothing to do – as it turns out – except accede to the internal pressure to change the sheets on all the beds and weed the garden.

Weeding the garden is hard work. I tell myself as I do it that when I’m done, I’ll cool off by sitting on the porch reading the paper. I take a moment to appreciate the fact that I did my daily run first thing in the morning – before breakfast or church or anything else – so once I’m done in the garden, the rest of the day is free.

And it is free, except that I really want to see my parents before the weekend ends. It’s only a five-minute drive, so the kids and I head over, and when we get back, it’s time to make dinner. While dinner is in the oven I’ll read the paper, I tell myself.

Which I probably would have, had I not instead called my sister to hear about her weekend. When the call is done, so is my cooking. We sit down to eat.

After dinner never feels like a time for reading. I’m helping the kids finish homework and get ready for bed. I’m making lists of what I need to get done Monday morning. I’m making up the bed with the sheets I just washed. I’m organizing the kids’ Monday lunches. I’m filling out permission slips.

Reading in bed? Sounds wonderful. What a great time to read the Sunday paper: just before going to sleep, when all of my duties for the day are behind me.

Except I fall asleep. So once again the paper goes unread. I’ll chip away at it throughout the week. One section here, one section there, and by next Saturday I will have read the whole thing.

The next day a new edition of the Sunday paper will arrive, and I’ll plan to sit down with a cup of coffee and a few free hours and read it cover to cover. Next week. Really.

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