24 September 2010
2 commitment issues
i first tried to read the new yorker in 1997. i was 16, so it didn't go well. this was back when partner and i were purchasing any and all publications featuring princess diana and i bought the new yorker solely because it featured a cover memorializing her. given that our hoarding was primarily motivated by The Pictures, the new yorker was an oddly inappropriate choice, and i subsequently complained to partner about all the money i'd wasted on this over-priced magazine with too much text and nonsensical cartoons.
(incidentally, what is it with teenage girls and magazines? [and, yes, i ask this as a girl who is still very much into magazines and often quite teenageresque] perhaps this was peculiar to us, but it went so far that in the dead of that august night, when we sat huddled before cnn on the telephone waiting for princess diana to die, partner whispered, "imagine the magazines!" a sentiment i had feverishly entertained myself but not voiced, and would, thus, subsequently tease her about for years and years.)
it wasn't until k.lo and i were in new york last march that i attempted the new yorker again, but even then it was mostly out of guilt for using the magazine as a prop in a staged facebook profile pic i ultimately never used (but have hereby used above so woo!). guilt being the motivator that it is, i forked over the $5.99 plus tax and read the damn thing the whole way home. because if i was going to pay for all those words, i sure as hell was going to read every single one.
this is probably where everything went horribly wrong. this idea that the new yorker was such an extravagant commodity that it had to be enjoyed to the fullest extent. to an extent that said enjoyment was diluted with grief and self-reproach.
because if i did not read the new yorker from cover to cover- a process that took, on average, a solid month and came at the expense of all other things i might be wanting to read- then i might miss Wondrous Things. like the brilliantly scathing review of the bounty hunter. or the story about the boy whose mother was a mexican porn star. or the feature on the arctic aeroballooners. perish the thought!
there is nothing i abhor more than missing out.
what i discovered from this experience of reading the new yorker was that i kind of loved reading the new yorker. a revelation i interpreted as a sign that i was fast approaching my twilight years, as what hip, tabloid-reading young lady loves the new yorker? in my mind, it was intended for middle aged men with elbow patches and crows feet. the new yorker was undoubtedly not meant for me.
and so i played hard to get, refusing to fork over money of my own and instead using the incidentals allowance from work travel- intended for such necessities as food and water- to buy an occasional copy. while it would've made a great heap of sense to subscribe, i could not bring myself do it. an hour of us weekly was taxing enough. i could tie myself to nothing more.
upon stating something along these lines to croftie last summer, her admission confirmed all my worst fears. she had once subscribed to the new yorker, a leap of faith rewarded with mountains of unread magazines. i found this unacceptable. my home needed no judgmental piles.
but i do like goals. and so in those heady days just before turning 29, i made some, one of which was that i would read 12 issues of the new yorker in my 29th year.
and with the wisdom that comes from turning 29, i realized there is a time when one must face facts. when one must accept the destiny that is so clearly coming.
after literally months of subscription contemplation and in light of the philosopher's articulate, oft-repeated point that in accomplishing my goal of reading 12 issues of the new yorker during the age of 29, i would, in fact, be spending $34.29 more in acquiring those 12 issues at the newstand than if i were receiving 47 issues in my home (a convenience rendered slightly less convenient by the inconvenient presence of the judgmental piles, but alas), i made the leap and chained myself to the new yorker for a whole entire year.
a seemingly huge yet embarrassingly small commitment over which i expended months of thought and hours of furrowed brow, only to solidify it in a tiny split second with the insouciant throw of a 3x5 60lb stock postcard into a mailbox and a triumphant toss of the hair.