If you knew me in real life, you'd know I love to read newspapers. A habit I am being forced to give up, step by tortuous step, as newspapers disappear, morph into electronic form, excise and butcher content, blah blah blah.
But my lament today isn't about the death of newspapers in terms of Woe, Wither Goest the Fifth Estate? Nope. It's more along the lines of postage stamps.
Let me start again.
I get treasures in the mail. The mail, UPS, what have you. I tell you about some of these treasures, such as in my post about a fleabay score on a group of miniature perfumes. Today, it was a mini of Teatro alla Scala (Krizia). I savor this kind of search and procure activity. Something in my wiring, I guess.
Also in my wiring is paying attention to the packaging. Not just of the item itself, as in visual presentation of a product. As in, what it the thing packed in. Styrofoam peanuts that might outlast roaches as entities on this planet? Bubble wrap that can be used as a tension reliever, but is a petroleum based product and also has landfill issues? Or...rarely, but on occasion...newspaper. Recyclable newspaper.
But hang on. That's the eco-guilt angle. What is the angle of my lament? Local flavor, my friend. Snapshots of life from other hamlets. Whether advertising or editorial, words or pictures, you can still get a sense of the remnants of local culture from a local newspaper.
From Bakersfield, CA, I see why a local sheriff might lose their job. Or how the schoolkids paid attention to Theodore Geisel's birthday. (That would be Dr. Seuss. And a teacher dressed up as The Cat in the Hat. Just so you know.) Classifieds tell me how much it would cost me to rent a 1BR apartment. And I can see the brand of milk available at the local grocery store. Somehow, in a world where the options for a cup of coffee at Panera are the same from Barstow to Bangor, this strikes me as cool. Always has. Because even as homogenization becomes more and more prevalent across regions of our country, unique elements remain.
Because I open a newspaper from somewhere, and it has a tangible sense of location, of "other," that their webpage will never give me.
Because I still get a thrill from getting a piece of mail with a postage stamp and return address from another country.
Because, I suppose, there is a romance to knowing there is something else out there.
I have a bit of an allergy to newsprint & ink. But I never, ever wished for them to be out of my life. Whether as a method to gather news...or get a view.