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Thursday, November 20, 2003

As a former news junkie, I didn't worry much about how disconnected we were from the real world while we were on the cruise. In fact, I didn't think much about it until we were back in port in Los Angeles, being boarded by federal officers with their sniffer dogs. As we were standing in the endless line to be let back into our own country, the ominous phrase "homeland security" kept going through my mind.

We did have options on the ship. The staterooms had televisions with channels like CNN International and CNN en Espaņol, but let's face it. Most of us were watching the free movies, like Legally Blonde 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean, if we were watching TV at all. (Not me, though. I watched The Sixth Sense with Spanish subtitles on TNT Latin America.)

Somehow I feel as if those ten days and their world events (whatever they were) are lost forever. I'm not going to go back and read news accounts of things that happened a week or more ago, because the world moves on too quickly. It's not that those events are irrelevant, just that they've been superseded by what's going on today. And what's going on today will be forgotten in a week to ten days anyway.

The news cycle in the twenty-first century is so short that it's almost pointless to pay close attention, the way we did in the past. I can't imagine my father, who was not the most educated man in the world, not watching the evening news at night. He had opinions on everything, too (almost always wrong if you ask me, which he didn't).

Today opinions aren't even based on the real news, whatever that is. You have your opinions first, and then you mold your interpretation of world events to fit your viewpoint. Whoever shouts the loudest controls the news, so why should anyone take notice of anything but what's going on in their own back yard?

Maybe being aboard ship was more of a metaphor for life than I thought. Nothing mattered that wasn't happening between the boiler room and the bridge. So to speak.

14 November 2003

Towel monkey, in our cabin near the end of the cruise.

Since I've been home, I've picked up a couple of newspapers, but my heart isn't in it. Today's Chronicle, with Michael Jackson and Britney Spears on the front page (in separate headlines, even), makes me feel that I didn't really miss much.

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