Hello, Old Pleasure

We recently subscribed to the Idaho Press, in part because I enjoy the writers and I was frustrated because many of the interesting articles are behind the paywall. Another reason though (that I’m almost embarrassed to admit) was to have a ready supply of paper to feed the woodstove. It’s true.

But today I rediscovered the best reason to subscribe: holding a paper and reading it front to back. I hadn’t realized how much I missed holding a paper in my hands on a lazy Sunday morning. I hadn’t considered how interesting pages upon pages of slick-papered ads might be after a long digitally-driven drought.

Today I revisited that old pleasure, reading the Sunday paper, avidly consuming everything – even the want ads – just like I used to. I read way more of the paper than I typically do. I don’t know why but suspect it’s because reading things online strikes me as not unlike the way glaucoma must feel as one’s peripheral vision shrinks.

When papers were still the best way to stay up with the world, Sunday was my favorite day to peruse them – the Chronicle, the LA and New York Times, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the Spokesman Review, and the Washington Post. I loved them all (at different times in my life) because they were full of information, and because they were so thick that reading them took a long time (the same reason I read Herman Wouck novels).

I like to read the papers, but I read as much to collect all kinds of information (useful and otherwise) as to understand context for the headlines. I read Sections A-F, the Want Ads, and every little tiny ad in the Chronicle for clubs – sleazy and otherwise – in the Pink Section.

Who was playing at Winterland? What plays were at ACT and if it was Christmas, when did the Nutcracker open? What was Bill Graham presenting? What was Herb Caen saying?

When I picked up the Idaho Press today, though I’d not thought about these things in years, all of that came rushing back. And though the Idaho Press is nowhere near as thick as I’d like (the Want Ads are still thin, for sure), holding it, I was unexpectedly seized by the anticipation of leisurely reading printed words over a cup of coffee. Of trailing a story from column to column, page to page, and of collecting information whilst holding the newspaper in my hands.

And today I find myself considering that perhaps I need to take the Statesman too. Except we’ve got plenty of paper for the woodstove now.

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