"Hey, it's me. I'm about to return."
I begin by going out to the garage where I have stored a year's worth of the local newspaper and the Sunday New York Times.Many months ago I took a picture and posted it with a yard stick alongside to show how my newspaper stalagmites were growing. The papers have now gone well beyond 36" in height.
|One year's worth of daily local newpapers on the left.|
52 issues of Sunday NY Times on the right.
Then something happened. We separated. But what if? The "what if" being our getting back together. Can it be like before?
One of those imponderables I suspose. You'll never know until you hold out your arms, say, "Come to me!" and give it another try...
While I am in the garage I open up the car and loft a special greeting to the in-dash radio. "Hello. I'll be turning you on soon!"
|The radio is silent, but not for much longer.|
For 365 days all that has come out of my car's speakers has been music from pre-Sept. 2010 CDs. I didn't dare tune in an FM or AM station for fear that someone might play new music or break in with (gulp) the news. Of course, NPR, my normal drive to work drug, was absolutely verboten.
"Michele Norris, Susan Stamberg, Robert Siegel, Ari Shapiro!" I call out. "Oh, how your alternatingly bemused and concerned voices once made sweet love to my ears!"
Lastly, I have to go into the den and stand respectfully before the silent TV. Over the past 12 months I've only fired it up when watching a DVD of a movie (again, pre-Sept. 2010 vintage) or in order to watch Seinfeld re-runs on the indie channel.
|I've watched it very little in the last year, and, yes, that is dust, definitely dust...|
I take in the sight of my Television Lover in her stripped down, barest form. I do so for longer than is healthy for a normal adult male. A 42" empty, unenlightened HD screen. It's true what they say. The sexiest color is black, all black. And the sexiest pose a TV deprived person can imagine? One finger on the remote.
My project has lasted long enough that there's a certain unreality about what used to be the norm in my life. It's difficult to imagine that once this Sunday rolls around I'll be free to do as I please with newspapers, magazines, television and radio, not to mention how it will be "surf's up!" time on the Web as the many sites I've carefully avoided for so long are once again open to me.
I guess this must be a little bit how a prisoner feels as his release date approaches. He's planning for it, filling up a bag with his few personal effects, figuring out where he'll have his initial meal on the outside, who he'll want to visit in person first. At the same time it's got to be as frightening to contemplate as it is exhilarating.
Can I survive my reencounter with all that's already happened in the news, sports, entertainment and weather?
And assuming I'm able to catch up to the point that I acquire some more than passing familiarity with what events and changes took place during the past year, can I then get back into the harness and joyfully become a consumer of what's happening on a daily basis the way I did before?
I must testify that it was quiet and peaceful in the Van Winkle slammer. On the other hand, it was a prison or, if not that, a very sensory deprived coma-like state. I don't want to go back, which is not the same thing as saying that I'm dieing to go forward...
Truthfully, I'm feeling anxious about returning to the normal world. What's it going to be like? I have no idea. - V.W.