Monday night around 8:45 I was on my way downstairs to work on something when I passed through the living room and noticed the youngest on the couch, reading. Everyone else had retired, the results of long days at the office, at middle school. The living room was inviting, dark but for the glow of a reading lamp. Cozy. Whatever I was heading downstairs to do could wait; I grabbed the unread March Bicycling magazine off the coffee table, created another cozy reading nook in Marcy’s coveted Red Chair, and dug into the three-month-old issue for close to an hour.

A notable moment because a week earlier I would have savored the scene, then continued downstairs to a task that no doubt had a work-related deadline attached to it. That happens when you find yourself in a work situation that has turned into a 24-hour survival effort. Even if I had my print obligations under control, there was still — always — the online monster of a blog to fill. And it wasn’t just filling the blog, it was figuring out ways to promote it. Convincing the online folks that it was worthy of a home page tease. Circulating it to appropriate online user groups. Pushing it through Facebook. The paper actively promoted two or three blogs; the rest of us were on our own. If I had a broad topic and promoted it well, I could get up to 1,000 views in a 24-hour cycle. If I had other commitments, which was usually the case, and didn’t have time for marketing I might get 80. And management was very cognizant of whose blogs were getting viewed; pitty the blogger whose views dipped below 10,000 when the monthly report came out.

I eventually did make it downstairs, did what I needed to do, returned to the Red Chair, read a couple chapters of “The River Why,” went to bed.

And slept very well.

Recommended reading: By Wednesday, I had made it up to the May issue of Bicycling and “Big Fat Lies,” a feature by Fit Chick columnist/blogger Selene Yeager disputing the time-honored notion that carb loading is the end-all for fuel-conscious cyclists. In fact, it dispels seven common misconceptions about eating right for an active lifestyle: 1. A calorie is a calorie, 2. Starches are sensible fuel, 3. All fat makes you fat, 4. Food comes from a box, 5. Skipping breakfast is fine if you need to drop a few pounds (frankly, I’ve never heard this theory espoused — at least not in the past 30 years), 6. You can eat the same at age 40 as age 20 (ditto), 7. You’re never hungry or your always hungry. Some of it is common sense, some is theory that’s not exactly new. But the general premise is insightful and should get you thinking.


M said...

Hey Joe,

I am happy to see that you are picking up where Marcy left off. I told Marcy I missed reading her musings on life after the Paper. And, from what I can tell from your Facebook musings, that life sounds pretty good!

As I told Marcy, being laid off reminds me of Kingman Brewster's advice to the incoming freshman class at Yale (not that I went to Yale) "You have never been so free before; you will probably never be so free again; enjoy the benefit of doubt."

Joe Miller said...

Hey Jeff,

There's definitely a sense of freedom. I'm hoping to go with that for a while until the sense of 'Hmmm, the mortgage is due,' starts to kick in.