Wednesday I did something Iím not very proud of. And I canít believe I did it. And I canít believe Iím confessing it to such a trusting and supportive community of readers. Itís the right thing to do. After all, if we canít be honest with each other about everything, then we canít be honest with each other about anything.
I gave up. I quit. Closed my eyes and muttered, ďSometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.Ē Then, I picked up my phone, called the San Angelo Standard-Times, asked to be connected to circulation.
Well wouldnít you know it? Sylvia answered the phone. Sylvia whom Iíve known since I worked at the S-T full time in the 1990s. We exchanged pleasantries Ė How are the kids? You? The grandkids? She likes my columns. I like the store on Concho Street that carries furniture she helps refinish and repurpose. None of which was the reason Iíd called.
ďListen,Ē I said at last, ďIíve decided to drop my print newspaper subscription and just go with the online subscription.Ē
ďI can do that for you,Ē Sylvia said, cheerfully. There was no horrified, ďNo. Say it ainít so! Online readingís for sissies.Ē
No pointing out the obvious. ďYou Candace? Youíre a real ink, real paper person. You always have been. You always will be. Youíve got to do your part for the good of us all. You canít sell out.Ē
Surely, she must have been thinking those things. She was just hiding it well. I apologized profusely, but that was probably more to comfort me than it was for Sylviaís benefit. I told her my days were long, and complicated, and I wanted to read the paper, but too many days I just didnít get around to it ó then once they were all in a formidable pile, I would try and catch up. I just never could. It was an ugly truth. I never would catch up.
Recycling the papers ó as I was determined to do ó had become a real chore, never mind the fact that if my granddaughter wanted something badly enough, she would volunteer to bag and help load the papers in my car to take to the recycling center.
Until now I donít think there has ever been a time in my life I havenít subscribed to a daily ink and newsprint newspaper. I used to love the adventure of unrolling the morningís edition to see what news there was to know. After I became a reporter and columnist, I would always get a certain satisfaction from opening up the paper and seeing my story in print.
Those things still happen, but there are more days, Iím ashamed to say, I venture out for my daily missions and I wince at the sight of that dayís edition along with the last couple of daysí papers. I feel sort of burdened because I wonít have time to read them.
Hello! People reading the newspaper is my very livelihood. How can I not be part of the readership? Well, already, I read and subscribe to the Bulletin online. With smart phone apps, itís easy ó wherever, whenever. It made sense to do the same with the Standard-Times.
Thursday, my first paperless morning, I returned to my apartment after getting my granddaughter to school. There was a twinge of something ó some strange feeling ó that the paper wasnít there. But there was a relief too. No assignment of guilt for not having time to even unroll the paper.
Finally, after a busy day, I settled in for the evening and I got out my phone to read over my column. Thatís when the whole I am a sell-out hit me with a vengeance. Believe it or not, my phone app for online said Iíd need to log in Ė though that hadnít been a requirement before. No problem. I logged in.
A little message in a blue box said my password was incorrect.
Seriously? Within five minutes, Iíd been issued a new temporary password, which also didnít work. Fortunately the login procedure was automatic and correct on my desktop computer. But it wasnít easy to find my column and the pop-up ads are as aggravating (if not more) than they are on the Bulletinís website.
Sigh. I wasnít meant for such a thoroughly modern technologically advanced world, but Iíll adapt.
And complain every step of the way. Complaining, after all, is quite old-fashioned, and I canít give up everything. Oh, and by the way Sylvia, we need to talk.
Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, formerly of Brownwood, living now in San Angelo. She can be reached at email@example.com