I started getting The New Yorker magazine a long, long time ago. At least 25 years ago.
During the first few years I subscribed, I would pick up the weekly magazine the day it came in the mail and read some of it. Rarely did I read a whole magazine in a sitting, nor even in a week, but every New Yorker magazine that came through my door left through the recycling bin having been, at the very least, partially read.
That hasn’t happened in years. Occasionally, I will sit down and read the magazine, never cover to cover, but a few articles in an issue. But most of the time, I put the magazine aside until the time I will be able to read it, and then end up recycling stacks of The New Yorkers, unread. They are never unopened because I always peek inside at the Table of Contents, to consider what I want to read later, and almost always I scan through the pages and read all of the cartoons, occasionally a short poem.
A couple of years ago, I decided I was wasting paper receiving a magazine I rarely read, but I couldn’t give it up. So I got the electronic editions. Huge mistake. I’d receive a weekly reminder that the magazine was ready for me to read, and then promptly forget to take a look. When I’d finally remember, I’d have weeks worth of cartoons to scan, which took up most of my allotted time, leaving no time for reading the articles. After a year, I went back to the paper issues.
When I do read an article from the magazine, I always am glad I did. It’s quality writing and I always learn something new or more in depth about a subject.
It would make sense that I didn’t read the magazine if I didn’t enjoy it or if I didn’t like to read or if I was so busy that there simply was not enough time. But I’m a reader. I read half my day away, daily. I read books, I read articles, I read blurbs, I read Twitter and Facebook posts, I read blogs, I read things my friends have written. What confuses me most is that I realize prior to reading some of what I read daily that it will probably waste my time, yet I still choose those pieces over my supposedly treasured The New Yorker.
I haven’t figured out why I continue to get the magazine if I don’t read it or why I don’t read it when I find the articles that I do read interesting or why I pretend that if I choose the articles I want to read from the Table of Contents, I will definitely read them.
It reminds me of how I manage what I eat. I know I want to eat healthy foods, I like most healthy foods, I buy healthy foods, yet I somehow manage to go for the junk a lot of the time.
I’ve decided that tomorrow, I am going to read the September 28th issue of the New Yorker cover to cover. I do not care if it takes me all day. I need to be reminded of what I am missing each week. Or, possibly, discover that the reason I don’t read the magazine is that I’ve lost interest.
Hopefully by Monday, my course will have changed. Either I will get back to reading the magazine regularly or I will decide that it is time to let the subscription run out at the end of this cycle.
Or I won’t make a decision. And I’ll be back where I started.
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