Save it for Later

June 28, 2023

I wanted to experience it all at once.

There was a thrilling game on TV that needed my attention, but the finale of a streaming series was also waiting — impatiently — to be watched.

On the satellite radio discussion of national events piqued my interest, as did the several newspaper and magazine stories that I wanted to read: media profiles, sports analysis, an illuminating obituary.  

My phone — not wanting to feel left out —sent an alert about an event that must not be missed.  

The game flashed on the television screen, bodies darting back and forth from one end to the other.

My eye caught a glimpse of the furious action as my ear strained to listen to an intriguing interview while I attempted to read about failing television ratings and the sinister actions of a recently deceased notorious killer.

A quick peek at the TV. A glance down at the phone.  A volume adjustment to better hear the news.

Sentences read and then read again.

I checked on the score of that other game.

Everything, everywhere, unrelenting.

It was too much. I’d had enough.

The desire to consume all things without missing out on something can be overwhelming and exhausting, and I realized it’s a futile fight.

I can’t enjoy all things all at once and, more importantly, the impact doesn’t stick when there are too many distractions.

There are no indelible memories, impactful experiences or thoughtful musings upon reflection. Instead there’s just a deluge of words and images and indecipherable sounds and unremarkable moments that pass by to be forgotten within minutes.  

What was the crucial scene on the show?

What was the significance of what I just read?

Who hit a home run in Anaheim?

It’s a constant battle — (I may or may not have thought to write this column as a soccer match was on TV and a baseball game played on the radio) — but one I force myself to be aware of.

Reminder to self: The show can be watched at another time. The articles can be read over a matter of days (not in the immediate minutes), and I can read about the game later.

The things I enjoy will continue on; they will not pause to allow me to catch up.  

And that’s OK.  Not everything must be consumed instantly.

I silenced the radio, shut off the TV and put down my phone.

Those events would have to be experienced later — on my own time.