November 8, 2009


I’m a lady with an amazing commute.

I live in New York City, but unlike most of my friends and coworkers, I travel from West to East when I go to work.  Traveling that way is so easy in many ways – even to folks who work in other states and cities.

Folks in New York, especially those who live in the outer-boroughs (The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island), usually have a subway/bus/ferry ride to work and back everyday.  Those rides allow us to read more books and news than folks outside.  People who live on Long Island or in Connnecticut or Jersey who take trains in also have an incredible number of hours to read or work on the train.

I have a 15-minute subway ride to and from work and I read a lot during that time.  Sometimes I bring parts of the Sunday NY Times that I didn’t get a chance to read over the weekend.  If not, I have the New Yorker or Bust or Bitch Magazine.  Lately I’ve been also getting OUT and The Advocate for free.   WIRED and SPIN and Rolling Stone show up at the apartment from time to time as well.

Needless to say, there is not a shortage of reading material for me to choose from when I’m leaving in the morning.  (Sometimes I forget to put my headphones on – new music that I must hear! But I’ll save that for another day.) Having the analytical mind that I have, I often feel compelled to prioritize these readings.  Clearly, it will be a daily, then a weeky, followed by a monthly publication.

The nature of my job also allows me to read quite a bit while I wait for court cases to be called, so whatever I’ve brought for the commute can be read then, too.  I can never count on what kind of waiting time I will have on a given day though.  It could be hours. It could be minutes. Or no time at all.

So, given my daily 15-minute commute and my uncertain waiting time, I read a lot, some, or very little of my many available reading material.  Since I have aforementioned analytical mind and a tendency to be anxious, I sometimes feel a bit pressured to get through it.

This leaves little time for short stories, novels, or the history books I crave.

Seeing as thing have become a bit tight financially lately, I suspended my NY Times subscription.  I figure I can read that shit on-line.  I did not re-subscribe to either Bust or Bitch recently, but I’m not sure when my subscriptions are up.  (I feel guilty about this because they are two publications that need support…) My New Yorker keeps coming – so I’m figuring I must have re-subscribed to that recently.  I have started to think about all the things I read and what I pay and what it means to not pay and whether I’ll miss it and whether I will feel like shit for not paying to get it…

With no Sunday Times on my conscience this week (though I did read quite a few articles online for free), I was able to finish a novel.  Not the best thing I’ve ever read, but reading it meant that I learned about Lebensborns.  If you know me, you know my interest in Jewish culture and my youthful pursuit of all writing I could find on the Holocaust/Jewish History and WWII.  And that lead to a lot of research online, which is my custom.

Really, I am truly a “Google Girl,” if that exisits.  If it doesn’t, I have just made it so.  I keep a list in my head (mostly) of things I need to research online.   Sometimes I wish I made an actual list – I forget things sometimes – but I don’t usually forget the things I need to look up.  Often, I am reminded of things by other folks and that will add incredible items to my list.

Look.  I am 33 years old and I know my place in this world.  I am old enough to appreciate and crave the feeling of pages in my hands, but young (and educated) enough to understand how easy it is to find anything and everything on the World Wide Web.  Yes kids, that is what WWW stands for.

In 1998, I graduated from a college that actually offered a major in American Studies. In 1998, nobody knew what that was and I imagine that most folks still have no idea what that means. But now, I live in New York City, where they even have a high school for that. If only I had grown up in New York City, I’d have been able to major in something more lucrative in college.  That course of study is possibly the root of (or reason for?) my insatiatble thirst for information.  It also created an awareness that I can’t deny.

I am a woman who supports the news and magazine community and I can’t help but feel good when I actually subscribe.  (Did you watch that season of The Wire?) The written word should not necessarily be free, but in some ways, I think the access to it should be.   That doesn’t make any sense, I know. Reconciliation can be made through advertisements, right?  Do I feel OK about that? Not really.

I am not a big fan of advertisements, so that’s why I will probably not stop subscribing to BITCH, at least. No complimentary copy there – no bullshit. I sent an old high school friend a subscription recently and damn, she’s enjoying it.

Outside of that, I doubt I will feel compelled to subscribe to other magazines.  The New Yorker keeps coming, as I said before – and I am not too proud to admit I like how that high-brow publication (weekly!) makes me think, pisses me off, and delights me all the time.  I stuff the damn thing into my work bag each week.

Sadly, I know there are tons of publications that deserve my loyalty.  I am thinking about HEEB and how if I were Jewish and not just fascinated by Jewish culture, I’d subscribe to that, too. Really though, if I were rich, I’d do it…goyim or not.

I’m stuck.


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