Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sign of the Times

Years ago, I had The New YorkTimes delivered to my home, every Sunday. Making the Times appear, every week, in my driveway, as if by magic, involved a highly complicated set of arrangements, but it was an imperfect technology.

Every Sunday, I looked out my window, fully expecting that the paper would not be in my driveway. This expectation built up over time, mainly when the paper deliverer was a substitute for the main guy. A substitute is somebody who doesn't know what he is doing, because the main guy didn't tell him anything. I became convinced that the route I was on had no main guy - all the deliverers were substitutes - every week, a new one who didn't know what he was doing.

It wouldn't have been so bad if you could then call up the deliverer and have it sent over posthaste, but you couldn't do that. It was virtually impossible to get the paper delivered, if you were missed the first time around.

So I stopped taking the paper. Instead, I subscribed to the on-line New York Times. In a marvel of modern technology, an exact facsimile of the paper was delivered to my computer screen every Sunday, but I found that I couldn't read it. When a whole page was displayed on the screen, the text was too small for discernment by human beings. But, zoomed out so that the text could be read, so little of a page was shown that all my time was spent in positioning the window to follow my perusing.

So I canceled my on-line subscription, in favor of a technology that works. Every Sunday, I drive my car to the QuikTrip (where nobody knows my name, but they say hello anyway) and I buy a copy of the Sunday Times.

Before the recession hit, I had to get to the QuikTrip before 9 AM to get a copy. After then, they were usually sold out, in which case I would go to the Borders Bookstore in the next block. If Borders was sold out, I would go across the street to the Starbucks.

After the recession hit and the Times, in its wisdom, raised the cost of a copy to six bucks, I could come by any time during the day. There was no hurry.


Larry Blumen said...

This morning, there were copies of the Sunday Times at the QT, but they were missing the magazine and book review sections. Ditto for the Borders and Starbucks stores.

The Starbucks in Tucker had the complete paper. So the "substitute" theory is confirmed even for the commercial establishments - a holiday weekend, turned over to a sub, who didn't know that you have to insert the separately delivered sections into the main paper.

Nathan said...

you suck

Larry Blumen said...

Nathan, you shouldn't be upset just because you're the sub for the regular guy - it wasn't your fault.