Today’s post is about you
Somehow the overlords at Comcast last night managed to lose telephone, Internet and telephone service for me, as well as for a large part of the city of Oakland. I went into a near panic, not because I was for all intents and purposes cut off from the outside world, for who knew how long, but because I hadn’t yet posted to my blog, and feared I’d be unable to, before the world woke up on Tuesday morning to find–gasp!–a repeat of Monday’s Meander.
I don’t know if readers understand quite the commitment some of us have to getting the old blog published every day. I mean, people like me, Joe Roberts, DrVino, Vinography, Fermentation, Jo Diaz and others. It’s a commitment that borders on obsession. Hell, maybe it is obsession: “such a persistant idea,” my dictionary says, “that cannot be gotten rid of by reasoning.” In other words, it’s not enough for me to say to myself, “Self, there’s nothing wrong with missing a day.” You know, on some deeply rational basis, that in fact there is nothing wrong with missing a day. You know it, but you can’t quite persuade yourself to believe it.
It’s kind of like the obsessive way I make sure I actually have my house keys with me when I step out the door. I locked myself out, twice over the last 20 years, the last time just two months ago. Not pleasant; not something you want to happen again. So I have this little ritual. Even thought I know I put the keys in my pocket, once I’m out the door, I not only tap my pocket to feel the familiar tangle of metal inside, I have to actually fish the keys out and look at them. I know it’s a stupid compulsion, but better I should have a harmless compulsion than lock myself out a third time.
But needing to publish this blog everyday is different in at least one other respect: when I obsess on having my house keys, there’s only one person involved: me. When I obsess on publishing everyday, it’s not only me I’m thinking about, it’s you. The readers. There are lots of you out there, across the world. You’re like members of a club. Even though you mostly don’t know each other, you come here every day to see what’s up. I feel that acutely. I have a powerful sense of responsibility to you, the readers, to publish something so that when you come here Monday through Friday, you get a post that’s new and, hopefully, interesting, thought provocative and occasionally funny.
Newspaper and magazine publishers have always possessed a keen sense of getting the paper out. The presses traditionally stopped for nothing; a publisher’s, and indeed a good editor’s and reporter’s, worst nightmare was that the paper be stopped from being published, due to some catastrophe or other. That sense of obligation was one of publishing’s most noble aspects, and has long roots in history and tradition. It has spilled over, for some of us, to blogging. We feel the same urgency. But in blogging, I think, we feel it even more keenly because of the interactive nature of the digital conversation.
When I woke up today, early, the first thing I did was turn on the TV to see if it was working. It was. I picked up the telephone, my land line, and heard to familiar, reassuring dial tone. I touched my computer mouse and the screen lit up, showing my email in box, with dozens of new incoming messages. Thank you Comcast, I whispered, even though they’re still the Evil Empire in my book. And then I sat down and wrote this post, which isn’t about wine. It’s about you.