Unfriending The Washington Post
I have a confession to make. I stopped my subscription to The Washington Post...and I don't regret it. As a resident of the DC Metro area since the end of my sophomore year in college, I should feel a twinge of guilt. Shouldn't I?
The crux of the matter is that I was the only one reading it. My son was a kindergartner when I stopped the subscription. He loved the comics. He's now a good reader who can check out a graphic novel from the library. We read the graphic novel together. My middle daughter is more interested in rereading the Twilight books. She has not noticed the lack of a daily newspaper. My teen gets all her news from her friends on Facebook or by clicking on news clips from the MSN homepage. My husband hates change of any kind. I moved the travel coffee mugs from the cupboard to the pantry...he has still not forgiven me. He argued strongly with me when I said I was stopping the subscription. He periodically mentions the lack of a newspaper, but has not purchased one since I stopped the subscription.
I stopped The Washington Post a year ago. It was a sad day for me. I never read it on a daily basis, but looked forward to reading it when I got a chance. I would allow the newspaper to pile up until I had a stack. Once the stack was a couple of days or feet(!) high, I would sit and pore through the stack. I'm a little OCD, so I have to handle each section of the paper before recycling it. I would read each section even if I just glanced at sports headlines or perused the classifieds. My need to read each section of the paper added more paper to our already paper strewn home.
Look on any surface in our home and you will find paper of some sort. Permission slips? Check the kitchen table. Bills? Check the bill rack. My work? Look anywhere on the floor or computer desk in dining room. Kids' art projects and certificates? Check the fridge. Every piece of paper had a home, except The Washington Post. There was simply no surface big enough to accommodate 7 days or more worth of the newspaper. It had to go.
On the plus side, our recycling bin is now never full. In fact, I can occasionally go for two weeks' between recycling days. But, I miss the look and feel of the paper. There are times when I will feel woefully out-of-touch. If a news story isn't reported on twitter, retweeted, in link on a Facebook post, or sent to my e-mail box, I might be out of the loop.
My mother is old school with newspapers. She reads The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, The Gaithersburg Gazette, and a host of magazines shipped in from England. Want to know what is happening with the British Royals? Hang on a moment while I call my mother to have her refer to her Majesty magazine. Want to know about the war years in Britain? I'll have my mother check it out for you. My mother is so old school with newspapers that she sends me clippings from The Washington Post. It's the next best thing to actually reading the newspaper...I suppose.
The funny thing is that collecting newspapers is one of my hobbies. As a teen in England in the 80s I was riveted by the Falklands War. Do you remember when Argentina had the audacity to invade an island off the southern Atlantic Ocean? More sheep inhabited the Falklands Islands than people, but that didn't stop the Brits from going to bat. My family stopped buying Argentinian corned beef in protest -- I was relieved as I despised corned beef. I followed the Falklands War through the newspapers I would buy as I walked home from school. I tracked the progress of the war on a map on my wall.
My newspaper collection includes The Washington Posts from the day my engagement was announced in the Post to the day I got married, the births' of my children, Deserts Shield and Storm, Michael Phelps winning gold, the death of Pope John Paul II, Princess Diana's death, and every Presidential Inauguration since Bush 41.