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The Way I See It...

Publisher's Letter 

Robin Rogers, Ed.D.

Sitting down for a chat with my youngest son, he asked me if I had ever experimented with Virtual Reality (VR). I’m sure I looked at him like he had totally lost his mind, because I don’t do drugs or video games, and, haha, surely he knows that by now! “No Mommmm,” he said, “Virtual Reality is the headset where you are actually put in another world.” To emphasize my disdain with his topic of conversation, I added, “Why would I want to escape this world that I actually live in, with spring flowers blooming and an amazing moon outside tonight?”

He continued to explain, “It’s like being on vacation all the time. There is this guy who works his desk job, and while he is working, he stays in his Virtual Reality headset for an entire week! It’s like he is on a beach with nature sounds in his ears, while he responds to e-mails and trades stocks.”

Still, I’m not impressed. He’s weird, right? I told him that I like reality-reality, and Virtual Reality is fake. I promised to ask him in 25 years what he thinks about VR as a vacation. I’ll take a real beach with a real book that has actual pages, thank you very much.

So, I’m feeling grumpy. And, I sound like Negative Nancy, too stuck in my ways to pay attention to what is new and changing in the world, while squashing my techie son’s dreams of vacationing at his desk post-college in a Virtual Reality headset. Sorry, Dude. I just don’t see it happening. I know that stuff is engrossing. While I understand the escapism, I don’t think it’s healthy.

While I’m on my soapbox of things that seem ridiculous today, I’m dissing grocery pickup, too. Have we gotten so busy or so lazy that shopping for groceries is too much? Who wants some stock boy picking out your tomatoes? Or your steaks? Have you heard of FOMO

(Fear of Missing Out)? My fear is the grocery store “picker” will not dig like I would for the less fatty pieces of meat or a longer expiration date. Maybe I am being ridiculous, but for me, the grocery store experience is just that: an experience.

The only advantages I can see to someone else doing your shopping and delivering your purchases outside to your trunk is if you are buying 50 pounds of dog food or feminine hygiene products. Then, grocery delivery might be a way to avoid eye contact with the cashier or a backache later in the day.

If I had chosen the drive-thru last week, I wouldn’t have figured out that I have been paying too much for my monthly prescriptions. We all know that insurance and health care costs are killing people. My one prescription rang up $65. The pharmacy had run it through my insurance company, and $65 was the amount I owed. Grumbling a bit, I said, “I’m not sure why I pay $600 per month for just me, when I get nothing from the insurance.” The pharmacy tech heard me, and she said, “Wait. Let me see how much it would be if we didn’t run the medicine through your insurance and put it on Good RX.” After less than five minutes, she came back to the counter and said, “That’ll be $20.” My chin must’ve dropped to my neck. Whaaaaat? So with insurance, my medicine goes down to $65, but anyone who doesn’t pay for insurance can pick up the same medicine for $45 less than me? Now, I was happy and thankful for my pharmacy tech, and she is “my pharmacy tech” from now on. And, don’t think I am looking a gift horse in the mouth, but doesn’t that seem crazy? Having good insurance is supposed to help, not hurt. Yet, moving forward, I will say, “Please check the cost on the Good RX card, too.” And, if I hadn’t gone into the drugstore,

I would never have interacted with a person to say, “Hey, you are doing it all wrong!”

Janet Barnes understands the importance of solid communication, as she worked for almost half a century for the Texarkana Gazette. Janet enjoys community, and hasbeenservingTexarkanaselflesslyformanyyears,giving of her time and talents. Never one to be idle, Janet stays busy volunteering for the gift shop at CHRISTUS St. Michael now. People who know her know how valuable her work has been to make Texarkana a great community for all. I hope you find her story as interesting as I do.

I’m thankful for my face-to-face interactions. I like doing my own grocery shopping. And, I have no desire to escape reality. I read a study recently about how teens are lonelier than ever before, even though they are more scheduled than teens of the past. Real time reflections of other kids’ “perfect” photos of fun on social media pages adds to this feeling of sadness. We need to get them off of their phones and into communicating, participating, and interacting in real life.

And while the world is changing, traditions are getting lost because people have quit doing things for themselves. My hand is in the air, too. I remember sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen bar and watching her make jelly from fruit that we had picked off of blackberry vines that grew on a fence line beside her house. She canned all kinds of things, but I loved her jellies the most. This summer, I am carving out the time to can some jellies. It’s the last summer before my son leaves for college, so I think I can still make him help me. He will have to leave his Virtual Reality headset in his room, but I can promise you, we will be making memories.

Hope you have a great April, and as always, thanks for reading FSLM.