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I Need a Prescription for Media Overload

“You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” ~ Steven Wright

It’s already happening.  I am losing my grip on reality.

One of my fifth graders asked me yesterday if I knew anything about Kony 2012.  I thought she was talking about some kind of organized protest against the closing of Coney Island.  Or a hotdog.  I made her repeat it three times.

Finally, I had to Google it.  It turned out to be a viral video that the entire world had seen but me.   And not your usual dog-with-a-garbage-can-lid-on-his-head viral video.  A disturbing one about a man forcing children to be brutal soldiers in Uganda.  I’m a little concerned that a ten year old knew all about this.  (Actually, a few of them knew about it.  And had seen it.)  What really bothered me, though – because we all know how self-centered I am – was that I knew nothing about it until she brought it up.  I’m usually on top of these things.  But not this time.

It’s that danged Sirius radio Cap’n Firepants installed in my car.

Before I got satellite radio, I listened to NPR 99% of my driving time.  Partly because I like to be informed about current events.  And partly because there was crap on the local radio stations.

Now that I have so many choices, though, I rarely turn to NPR.   (Apparently, Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” is NOT the only song in the world.) So, now, I get my daily dose of the news watching HLN while I am brushing my teeth in the morning.  Somehow I missed HLN’s in-depth coverage of Kony 2012 – but did get to see two darn cute kindergarten boys from San Antonio, one of whom saved the other from choking on a Cheeto in one of our local school cafeterias.  Oh, and a story about a chicken nugget that looked like George Washington that had a winning bid on eBay of $8,000.  (Don’t panic.  The winner backed out on his bid, so all is not lost.)

I know that I could listen to NPR on my satellite radio, but suddenly being informed does not seem quite as important as listening to an acoustic version of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” on The Coffee House station.  Or listening to comedian Steven Wright thinking out loud about the lack of advertising for string.  And if singing along to Colbie Calliat’s mashup of “Breakeven” and “Chasing Cars” is wrong, well I don’t want to be Wright.

If Robin and Friends on HLN can’t bring me up to speed in the 5 minutes I watch every morning, I guess I’ll just have to depend on my fifth graders to fill me in on all of the human rights atrocities and political sniping that I’m missing from now on as I waste my time getting Sirius.

Imagine Tigger on Ice Skates

I am looking for the line.  That line that all adults seem to cross where they turn from hip, risk takers who love to attend concerts, into cranky anxious people who keep telling you to turn the music down.  There’s gotta be a line, right? Or actually, a thick border, I’m thinking, because I doubt this happens over night.  We all know those adults, right, the ones who seem to be mired in the last century?  They surely weren’t born that way.  So, at what exact point did they decide to step to the right on the moving sidewalk of life and let everyone else run past?

I am on the lookout because I seem to remember from my youth observing a lot of people in this particular decade of age-itude who had crossed over to the dark side.  So I am wary of doing the same.  Is it my refusal to participate in Facebook that marks the beginning of the end?  Or the fact that I switch my radio to NPR whenever my daughter isn’t in the car?

Although I am actually trying to stay on the youthful side of the line, I am suddenly aware of people who are ready to push me over anyway.  The surprised pause in the conversation when I quote the lyrics of a Top 20 song gives them away.  So do the raised eyebrows when I wear a skirt that doesn’t cover my knees.

The biggest threat, though, seems to be coming from within.  My own body seems to be ready to betray me.  I love to try new things, and I finally have enough self confidence at  42 to actually try them.  For example, I never ice skated as a child, but tried it a few years ago with my daughter.  I loved it. I took her yesterday, and I was so touched that she still wasn’t embarrassed about me skating with her that I skated almost the entire time.  And now, my body is letting me know that it does not approve of such unbecoming behavior from an adult.  My muscles ache and I’m still exhausted 24 hours later.  My daughter, on the other hand, went skating again today, and is currently turning cartwheels in the living room.  The kid makes Tigger look he should be put in a nursing home.

We’re taking our daughter to a Maroon 5/Train/Matt Nathanson concert in a month.  Not exactly cutting edge music, but it’s not Garrison Keillor, either.  It’s her first “real” concert;  she can’t wait.  I’m actually more concerned that the music isn’t too loud for her, since she held her hands over her ears during two hours of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

She was excited to learn that we get to sit in the grass, thinking that we bought those tickets for the better ambiance, rather than the relative cheapness.  I’m wondering if we should have sprung for some chairs – you know, because my creaky old body might have a hard time getting vertical again after sitting for two hours on the ground.

I’m kind of beginning to think I’ve already crossed the line.

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