By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
As my brother so accurately rhymed last week, we are in a whole lotta trouble. And I’ve had to write this blog before the Presidential debate on Sunday night. God only knows what fresh hell that will bring. I’m not sure I can take any more “news”. Admittedly I watch too many of the cable shows, switching from one to the other in hopes that I will gain some perspective. But all I’ve gotten in return is carpel tunnel syndrome in my valiant, but fruitless, effort to find sanity. Over the weekend I decided I’d had enough and swore off following the election. The conundrum was, how do I find ways to occupy my time over the next four weeks? I think I’ve stumbled on some solutions and since we here at “A Bird’s Eye View” always aim to be of public service, today I’m going to share my election avoidance strategies. So, in no particular order, here they are:
Sports – I’ve always liked watching sports and rooting for my favorite athletes and home teams. This year I’ve especially appreciated the fact that within a few hours you know who the winner is and there’s no campaigning unless you count Colin Kaepernick. Which I don’t. Plus, let’s face it, it’s a great excuse to eat Doritos and guacamole. Luckily, we are in the sweet spot of the year for sports. A quick perusal of the TV listings this week offered a cornucopia of athletic events on TV – pro football, college football, hockey, golf, college volleyball, English “football”, pre-season basketball, the MLB playoffs, motorsports, soccer and tennis. There is something for everyone on that list – assuming you are a sports fan. If not, read on.
Organize – There have been many books out in the past year or so touting the soothing benefits of organizing your life, your home and your mind. Personally, I think it’s over-rated. But I decided to organize my closet in an attempt to avoid the news (and Facebook – don’t even get me started on that. Why do friends insist on re-posting political crap? Like we care. Or that it’s going to change our mind. I’d rather see the ubiquitous pictures of dinner plates/expensive wine bottles/Aunt Gertrude’s 80th birthday cake.) It seems like socks are always in need of organizing. I think elves mess up my sock drawer every summer. I spent more time than I care to admit deciding whether to organize by color or length and whether to bundle or roll. Finally I gave up and went back to my Doritos. But again, it was a more soothing activity than listening to popularity numbers or, God forbid, “analysis” done by surrogates.
Food/Home – If indoor sports are more to your liking, turn on the Food Channel or HGTV. It’s amazing how comforting it is to listen to someone stress over whether the sofa should be orange or blue compared to watching endless analysis of debate prep. I get so invested in “Househunters” that I end up shouting at the prospective buyers. Why can’t they see that the three flights of stairs in Home #2 is going to be a pain in the butt when they’re lugging groceries? It’s almost as good as watching sports. The Food Channel also offers endless entertainment but is decidedly more fattening. I’m not a great cook but I get so inspired when watching the Barefoot Contessa that I think I can actually turn out a successful meal. Many failed attempts have been dumped in the garbage but that’s still better than looking at poll numbers.
Find the Good News – Yes, this IS possible. While the media focuses on the negative, there are plenty of good things going on out there too. They’re just not as sensational so it’s harder to find them. One place I discovered dedicated solely to good news is http://abcnews.go.com/us/good_news. It’s full of stories about people doing all sorts of wonderful things to make our world a better place – helping the homeless, mentoring disadvantaged youth, rescuing animals or simply performing random acts of kindness. Reading the stories reminded me that we are not the politicians. Or, more accurately, they are not us. Especially in an election year the politicians try to put a wedge between us, but I think we all know that most people, regardless of political affiliation, are genuinely good, with honest intentions and a helping hand for someone in need. That’s who we are – our similarities far outweigh our differences.
So far those are the activities I’ve come up with to divert myself from the news. If you have developed other coping mechanisms please share. After all, there is only so much I can do with my sock drawer in the next four weeks.