There are summers and then there are summers like this one. Not only has this one been a scorcher in terms of the weather, but so much has been boiling up lately. It's at times like these I'd like to go off the grid and ignore the madness. I'm not talking about endlessly viewing cat trick and 'Chewbacca Mom' videos -- although I'm a fan other types of viral videos. I simply choose to attempt to "lose myself" in hobbies and activities as much as possible. For myself, running is one of the activities I enjoy, but I cannot run 24/7. The same goes for listening to podcasts or watching the Tour de France. I love them all, but I do have to come back down to earth at some point.
On a side note with the Tour de France, I might be the only one viewing the event, but lately others are joining in since it has been making some news of its own with one participant punching out a spectator. On another day, the course was temporarily obstructed from an inflatable banner malfunction. These guys might be getting the decent ratings that they deserve and perhaps the viral video hits that are much-needed on their websites.
To me, shopping, driving, watching certain television programs and films help me to take that "news diet" one nutrition guru suggested many moons ago. Apparently avoiding current events helps with health. Is that guru suggesting that "ignorance is bliss" is completely true? The "news diet" is a great idea, but like most diets, they require discipline and let's face it, they're temporary. At some point, reality sets back in for most of us. As the movie's name says, "Reality Bites." Most days I try to escape to these places only to get pulled back in to current events. I confess that it's stressful when my mind goes back to the news of the day, but these days, I just don't want to 'take the bait' and get riled up by societal issues.
I confess that many moons ago I 'took the bait' by simply piling on with the rest of society on topics, with heavy doses of being influenced by newspaper columnists and radio/TV talk-masters. I'm not sure if it's the heat, years of viewing/listening to the bickering, but I have been cooked by it all lately.
Social media doesn't help when current events bubble up during times like these, but I like the fact that I can scroll by the short missives, laugh at the users posting ridiculous comments and then move on without 'taking the bait.' I think it's a skill that I developed. I'm quite proud of the fact that I can scroll by angry rants, laugh a bit and then view a kangaroo clinging to someone's leg. I'll take that clip over 'Chewbacca Mom' any day.
It's interesting to watch how users post comments on social media, in chat rooms or on media outlets' comment threads. I'm far from the first one to observe this fact, but many users suddenly become experts. Whether it's social, legal, medical, physical, financial, artistic or spiritual, millions or perhaps trillions on this planet are self-appointed experts and guess what, many of them state that they are right and if you disagree, you are wrong. On and on the bickering goes and like Web pages, the arguments are endless.
Where's the peace, love and understanding that singer/songwriter Elvis Costello yelled out for years ago? I feel we lost all of that in recent years. Certainly we have our freedom of speech and for some, it's appalling and yes, we can click away or walk away from it if we choose to do so in our 'choice society.' Still, aren't we all in this together? Yikes, it has been getting ugly on the streets as well as the Information Superhighway.
With all of that said, it's not all bad out there. There's one video displaying opposing sides hugging it out during a heated demonstration. There are a number of stories of folks doing good for others. But for the many who share these act of kindness, there is still a lot of bickering on those social media pages, blogs and comment threads, so we certainly have a long way to go to reach a better level of comity in this society. In the meantime, I think I'll give in and watch 'Chewbacca Mom' just to temporarily get away from all of the noise.