By: Emma Gampper
Over the summer, I was lucky enough to receive a digital subscription to the New York Times—or so I thought. Immediately after I activated my account and downloaded the app, I was plagued with notifications that still haunt me to this day. I often woke up to a buzzing phone in crisis rather than an alarm clock. After all, nothing says good morning like a notification that reads, “The U.S. is holding a record 12,800 migrant children in detention, a fivefold increase from May 2017, data obtained by The Times shows.” What a time to be alive.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love The New York Times, but every once in a while I wish I did not receive notifications that force me to groan. However, sometimes, in moments of hopelessness I get a promising alert. It is one of those needle-in-a-haystack notifications that are objectively less bad than the ones surrounding it. But you still know it’s bad when I consider “Trump engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from his father” to be one of the more positive alerts of my day.
The more positive notifications I receive initially disguise themselves as bad ones. For instance, on September 29th, I got a notification about Elon Musk stepping down as Tesla’s chairman. However, all I read at first was that “Elon Musk will step down,” and I feared for the worse. I worried that he had gotten fired or that Tesla had gone bankrupt. My anguish stemmed from how personally I view Elon Musk: I envision the multi-billionaire like an estranged uncle that you would see every so often at a family gathering—some of the stuff he does is funny and entertaining, but other than that, I don’t know much about him. Regardless, I had feared that the worst had happened to Uncle Elon. Thankfully, he was only stepping down as chairman of Tesla and being sued for twenty million dollars.
Just to put into perspective how many notifications I receive on a daily basis, in the one and a half hours it took me to write this article—including procrastination—I got three notifications. To be fair, most of them clustered around the same topic: Brett Kavanaugh––but that’s still an overwhelming amount of news for such a short period of time. But, in the end, I am not given much of a choice because by turning my alerts off I risk being uninformed about the events that transpire in the world.
Without my rumbling subscription, the misdeeds of our Earth and its destruction would go unnoticed and unsolved. Although being informed is nice and significant I wish it did not come at the price of my sanity.