When I first got to know my mother-in-law back in the mid-80s, I thought her outlook on life and world events a bit self-centered, even isolationist if humans can be called that. I loved Meg dearly, but we talked mostly about books and writing, about inconsequential family things, movies, and fun excursions. In other words, pleasant things.
I saw her more often in her later years, and still couldn’t get her point of view. She was in her late 80s and early 90s by then, but she knew very little about world events, never watched the news, never discussed politics, simply had no clue that life consisted of anything but the joys in which she indulged: taking walks with her husband around Leisure World where she lived in Orange County in Southern California, reading fiction, eating out with friends after a short cocktail hour, and enjoying her family as long as they did nothing to upset her happy life.
I didn’t understand, especially when she was able to pretend 9/11 didn’t happen.
Lately, however, I’ve come around to Meg’s way of thinking. I can’t bear the newscasts where reporters jam a microphone into the face of someone who’s just lost a family member or watched their house burn down. I’m appalled and disgusted by politicians and the business-as-usual way they run the country. And I can’t believe the number of people who parrot everything they hear on television and radio and read in papers and online as though it had to be true. Disasters like Newtown and Aurora break my heart. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about these things.
Why don’t all of us have PTSD?
Or maybe we do…
I need to shrink my world to a manageable size, focus on the individuals around me, work on projects where I can actually have an impact and/or see results, and…
escape into good books.
Right now I’m about 3/4 of the way through 11/22/63 by Stephen King, the master storyteller. It’s better than taking medicine, and it’s sure better than watching the news.
You all stay fully informed and stressed out if you want.
Me? I’m going to watch the weather, then turn off the TV and read a good book. If you have a great story to recommend, please let me know in the comments. I’ll finish 11/22/63 by the end of the week.