I did think about this a lot. But today I have what feels like ten thousand bees buzzing in my head. No, not a cold, some damn difficult scenes and a plot point I need to advance in hte new manuscript and don’t know how. Top it off with four hyper kids who know this is the last day before school starts and want to get in as much ‘fun’ as they can which seems to involve a lot of ‘mom! so and so is doing so and so’. So its been a bit hard to concentrate. Nothing a good walk wouldn’t sort out, the exercize seems to jog lose my creative process when it stalls.
I don’t think I ever could do what Tammy did and just walk away from technology but I’d be lying if I didn’t sometimes feel a little jealous. Why? The simplicity. Technology makes our lives complicated. It really does. Sometimes those complications are a good thing, but sometimes they aren’t.
I was running through my favorite inventions and imagining life without them and I could see a trend. For example: I love my washing machine. It’s difficult imagine life with five kids without one. But would my children (or I) own so many clothes that they won’t fit in our closets if we had to wash them by hand? And wouldn’t we take better care of them? IE: picture a teenage girl’s room.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped playing with my kids or helping them with their homework or just talking to them so I could go answer the phone. I spend a lot of time answering the phone. The moment I stopped doing something that was important to do something that might be, but probably isn’t, my quality of life went down, not up. Technology went from being a help to an intrusion.
It can happen with anything. I love my computer. I need my computer. I can’t imagine writing a manuscript without cut and paste and formatting and all the gadgets that I use. Not to mention my SO lives half way around the world so email is my friend. But there are times that I’m surfing the net because I’m in between scenes or playing solitaire to unwind and I could be with my kids and where are they? On their various games probably. I have sent D2 a message on myspace when I could have walked into the other room and told her myself. We all exist in this house but at times we don’t all exist together, you know? Sure I put checks and balances on it– ‘no son, you can’t take the DS in the bathtub with you’ — No. Seriously. But it’s there and in quantity and its fighting for their attention and guess what? It’s more interesting than me, school work or chores or pretty much most things. In a world where first graders have cell phones, there are 10 billion channels, DVD players, Wii’s and PS2s, how do you teach children to ‘play’. Simple I guess, turn it off. Only that’s not always so simple. Try it. I just imagined the look in my niece’s or cousin’s eye if I told them they couldn’t have their cell for two hours. No high speed internet! What?!? They’d go ballistic. I don’t think they’re alone in that. But what does a 17 or 14 year old girl need a cell phone for?
And it’s not just electronics. Technology has changed the family dynamic. We no longer need to work together to survive. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, personally, I like having a thermostat and running water, but it is one reason why my children have chores. I want them to know they are necessary to the running of this house. They belong, they’re needed. I want them to know we, as a family, are a team. I’m hoping they will feel valued.
Do they? No, now I’m the not so cool mom who won’t let them on the computer until they make their bed and I have heard D2 say, ‘no I have to do chores.’ on the phone talking to her un chored friends with a tone of whiny resignation. Will they? I don’t know.
To sum it up? Technology is a good thing, a very good thing for a lot of reasons, but like most good things, too much of it tints it to bad. I think it comes down to whether you own the technology or it owns you.
So yeah, if you call and I don’t answer, I’m probably playing with my kids.