How to Check Out

Leave the country. Become overwhelmed by the contents of Google Reader whenever you check it.  Mark every article “as read.” When you return home, blame your exhaustion, panic and confusion on jetlag. Continue to ignore the news.
Vow to attack things as a means of coping. Start with Google Reader. Notice that the word “Egypt” is popping up a lot. (Also: “rape,” “definition,” “abortion,” and “Congress.”) Feel exhausted.
Pretend to ignore the news, but skim the headlines. When people ask you what you think about the Egypt situation, tell them “it’s complicated.” Because you always say this about politics in the Middle East, they believe you.
Worry about how all this will affect Israel. Dislike this impulse of yours. Consider what the ramifications of this question mean for all of your politics. Decide, after a long walk and some talking to yourself, that it’s okay to have this impulse and to engage with it. It’s part of what makes you who you are.
Stop reading the headlines again as you get more panicked about the rest of your life.  Ponder the idea that being politically informed is something enjoyed by people with money and security.
Download the Fresh Air podcast featuring Terry Gross’s interview with Thanassis Cambanis on Hezbollah, Egypt and Israel. Listen to it as you take yet another crazy walk around the city. Be comforted by Terry’s voice and how she sometimes forgets to ask a question.
Learn things. Feel like it will never be enough.

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