For more than thirty years I got up very early in the morning so I could write before going to my day job. Once I established this routine, other things fell by the wayside – eight hours of sleep per night, for example.
And reading my morning newspaper.
I subscribe to the San Francisco Chronicle, and have for most of the thirty-plus years I’ve lived in the Bay Area. While I was writing in the very early hours of the day, I never managed to read my newspaper in the morning. I’d scan the headlines and a few pages of the front section while eating my lunch. But usually, I didn’t get around to reading the rest of my newspaper until the evening.
My Monday through Friday routine was this – I got home from work and fed the cats. Yes, they eat first. If they don’t, I hear about it. After fixing dinner for myself and completing whatever evening tasks needed doing, I finally sat down to read my morning newspaper, right before going to bed, very early, because I got up so early.
On the weekends, what a treat! I got to read my morning newspaper before noon!
I vowed that when I retired, I would read my morning newspaper in the morning.
Yes, I know that during the past few years I could have read the newspaper online. But my morning newspaper is meant to be read after breakfast, sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee on the end table and a cat on my lap.
I was a newspaper reporter on a small-town daily back in the day when I typed my copy on a Smith Corona manual typewriter, on sheets of paper salvaged from the Associated Press wire machine that clattered behind my desk.
To me, reading newspaper on a computer just doesn’t compare. In the interests of disclosure, I will say that I do have an online subscription to the New York Times. But the Chronicle? No, I want to feel newsprint in my hands.
I always read the daily newspaper, even as a kid. When I was in junior high and high school, my parents subscribed to the Denver Post. It was an afternoon newspaper, and I read it cover to cover when I got home from school. When I went to college, I studied journalism.
I graduated from the University of Colorado’s J school over forty years ago. The practice of journalism has changed so much in four decades that I barely recognize it. And so has reading a newspaper. Falling subscription rates indicate that a lot of people don’t bother with newspapers any more. I keep reading that newspapers are going away.
I hope not.
I retired in November of 2013. Since then, with few exceptions, I read my morning newspaper in the morning, as I drink that last cup of coffee, a cat on my lap. I read the sections in a certain order and toss them on the floor when I’m done.
And about that thirty-year sleep deficit? I’m catching up.