I usually wake up around 6, grab my iPhone and check out email, text, Facebook, Messenger, local news, NY Times, CNN, Bloomberg News, NPR, and then turn on the TV to watch the local then world news, and finally read the e-edition of the paper while intermittently rechecking my phone for new Facebook posts and news updates—WHEW! This news overload continues throughout the day and I have become an expert on politics, Russia, the wall, China, North Korea, Middle East, energy, terrorism, natural disasters, global warming, scandals, sports, dysfunctional government, and every other FUBAR event. It’s great to be an informed citizen but with all the social media and traditional news sources reporting and even beating to death every possible piece of nasty trivia it’s easy to get overwhelmed and jaded. Occasionally I just need a timeout from the bad news to confirm that not all is doom and gloom.
Since bad news bombards us from so many different sources avoiding it can be quite a challenge. You can either enter an isolation chamber which is totally impractical or create a mind diversion with an activity that requires 100% of your time and thoughts. My escape from the bad news usually is adventures that are so much fun and monopolizing of your time that checking the news becomes an afterthought.
My most recent self-imposed news blackout was the result of a Birthday present from my wife–a road trip to Tampa, Florida to attend a NY Yankee spring training game. Just to be clear, we do travel with smart phones, laptops and tablets which are more than capable of bombarding us with our normal news regimen but it’s more about an escape attitude where your priorities change and you bypass the news apps and opt for the local weather app and the bar-codes for tickets to the game.
We leave Chapel Hill, NC and listen to an audio-book for the six-hour drive to Savannah sans any news and then our evening is spent in an open-air bar/restaurant rooting for our UNC Tar heels basketball team playing an NCAA elite 8 tournament game—just good food, brews, and company without any tweets or news flashes–No time for even thinking about listening to the news!
The next morning, we head for our main destination of Tampa to watch my beloved Yankees. We continue the audio-book and the anticipation of watching the game generates thoughts and talk of the next day bucket list level of attending a live Yankee game. Dinner is at a downtown restaurant and the next day we take a walk on the scenic Tampa Riverwalk with the obligatory tourist photos and on to the night game–No time for even thinking about listening to the news!
The George M Steinbrenner ball park is a jewel and we arrive an hour early to take in the whole baseball experience with 10,000 other rabid fans. If the magic of the game isn’t enough to demand your full attention the cash flying out of your wallet can act as a surrogate for your bad news diet: $10 for parking, $30 for a Yankee visor so my wife could be a proper fan, $18 for 2 “we’re here beers”, $10 for a game program, and $38 for 2 hot-dogs, 2 beers, and 1 bag of chips. But the real reason this game demands my full attention are the cherished memories of hours of playing baseball and cheering for the Yankees with my older brother. I could feel him at the game with me both cheering and bitching at our team’s performance–No time for even thinking about listening to the news!
We choose Amelia Island, Florida as our pit stop for the trip home and the drive from Tampa to our motel again includes the audio-book and a continuous recap of how cool the Yankee experience was. Two days on the beach and the historic beach town are a perfect end to our adventure. Ocean sunsets, a historic fort visit, sidewalk dinners at a local brewery in the downtown, beach walks and rooftop toasts fill our days and evenings–No time for even thinking about listening to the news!
The final leg of our trip is synced perfectly with the end of the audio-book. This road trip was the perfect break from all the FUBAR news but as a true news junkie I am ready to go back to: grabbing my iPhone and checking out: email, texts, Facebook, Messenger, local news, NY Times, CNN, Bloomberg News, NPR, and then turn on the TV to watch the local and world news, and finally read the e-edition of the paper while intermittently rechecking my phone for new Facebook posts and news updates—WHEW!