I had breakfast the other day with an engaging woman whose company I quite enjoy. You might call it a date, but it shared characteristics with a successful therapy session. I recommend sharing a meal with a student of creative writing – they’re very observant, and far better listeners than myself, I suspect. The conclusion that my breakfast companion reached was a fairly obvious one, but not something I’d noticed before. Apparently I like order. Or rather, I really like order. So there’s probably some link between my feeling very good and accomplished about having packed twenty boxes already, carefully numbered to match a detailed inventory that indexes what’s in each box, and my habit of collecting thousands and thousands of recipes and “to read” books on my computer – just in case. “Just in case the Internet goes away?” she asked, incredulously. I shrugged. It could happen. Websites die, don’t they? It might be a little excessive, though, that after copying all the recipes into a computer program, I keep the old ones on a Word document and leave the newer ones in a special bookmarks program – just in case the computer program spontaneously crashes, and the developer has died. (I also keep the recipe file and the install file for the program, as well as the software license, backed up on an external hard drive.)
All right, so it’s time to admit it. I’m a control freak. When I try to relax more, I do it by controlling the control. I have been known to plan periods of spontaneity. But I’m okay with that. Here’s my question. My latest fear has been that I will miss the news, and be uneducated or ill-informed. I don’t have a TV, or time to read magazines or the paper, so my news comes from the Internets. Tonight, I admitted to myself that I really will never have time to read the New York Times or Le Monde in full, so I took them off my Reader, and I added the Daily Beast’s “Cheat Sheet” feature, as well as signing up for Slate’s newsletters so I don’t forget to check Slate. Any other tips, nifty programs, websites you recommend for staying on top of things?
A depressing thought: If I read a book a week until the day I die, I’ll still only be able to read 2,600 books. That’s less than my current to-read list.