Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Make dinner before surfing / Part I

At the end of a long school day, my 14 year old daughter steps through our front door, drops her back pack and grabs a Gogurt and some Goldfish on her way to check her three e-mail accounts. My 9 year old son follows closely behind but grabs his GameboyDS to connect to a WiFi game. As the American experience unfolds around us, our families are becoming mummified by the masses of information the Internet throws our way as it summons our time and energy.
I recently had the opportunity to experience life without the Internet. For two weeks while we moved into a new home we were Internet – less. Poor planning on my part turned into miraculous lessons learned.
The Internet had become a sixth member of our family (right behind our dog Star). The methodical hum of the towers’ cooling fan and the white light of the monitor beckon me toward it. It’s whine, like my once newborn babies would beg me to pay IT some attention.
I could ignore its needy call OR I could take a quick 5 minutes. Really, it will only take 5 minutes to check my e-mails, update my Facebook profile and add a new contact to my LinkedIn account. THEN I will go make dinner. Two hours later, after bombarding my brain with unimportant data, and e-mailing people I have not talked to in 20 years, I hear a gentle peep behind me. My son leans softly over my shoulder and says “Mom, I’m hungry. Can you make dinner?” Holy Crap! It’s 7:00 pm.
. The Internet. It used to be ONE way to communicate with each other. Today it is the ONLY way we communicate. It’s an electronic tea party. The problem is we NEVER leave the party. It is in our homes which allow it to lure us away from the things in our homes that really need our love and attention. Family. Pets. Jobs (that thing that pays us to spend time on the computer).
Hour after hour we are pulled away from dinner tables and family time. Oops, I guess dinner will be late again. Or, we hear ourselves holler “Just a minute dear, I’ll be right there,” as our children pause the Friday night family movie so we can finish just one more reply to a friends’ e-mail.
“Not now, honey, mommy’s working,” we disguise sitting at the computer googling random topics or checking our personal e-mails. It lures us to the electronic tea party with noble promises of wisdom and connection to people or places. More More More our fingers fly across the keyboard. What more can I search for? What other ex-boyfriend can I find? What blog might have the one nugget of information that could change my life forever? How many more times will the prune-faced grandma change to a perfect-faced beauty on the screen before I scream. NO MORE! (See Part 2 for conclusion of the story)

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