I was sitting in my kitchen the other day happily typing away some recipes of mine into my Ipad’s recipe organizer. I’m trying to get it all in there so that I can throw away a lot of my recipe cards and have a nice, single organized place for all of them.
I’ve recently gotten Mr. B interested in steampunk style decor. He’s been pulling apart lamps and watches that would instead be garbage and making really cool stuff out of them. I’d had a long day of working, cleaning, taking care of my old pup and generally getting things done. Sitting down to type recipes was actually relaxing to me. And then I hear him say:
“Do you mind if I turn on Netflix for some background noise?”
This spawned a conversation. Mr. B and the Texan almost ALWAYS need some kind of noise going in the background. Even when they sleep. Mr. B is an ultra-gamer, he can spend hours and hours and hours day after day in front of the PS3 whereas Texan is usually glued to news, sports, message boards on his phone or the history channel on the TV and if not that then the radio.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my gadgets. My Ipad my Iphone and I do watch some TV: True Blood, Game Of Thrones, Californication, re runs of Family Guy. But in general, I’m not a “tv watcher.”
I’ve been poked at because I like my house silent. Like that’s a weird thing. I don’t mind kids laughing or dogs barking, I don’t mind organic noise. But I’ve truthfully gone entire weeks without a radio or TV and would probably go entire weeks without a computer if it wasn’t part of my job. I enjoy the quiet. I’m one of those people that relishes the silence when the power goes out. There’s no more electric buzzing from the plugged in but not running electronics in the house. It’s back to story telling and talking and knitting.
My BFF had actually once made a comment that she liked my living room a lot and that she plans on having one like it. There’s no TV. When we are in the living room, we TALK. We don’t eat dinner with the TV going, ever. It wasn’t even a hard and fast rule, it was just natural. Dinner times means catching up time.
I’m not so worried about people plopping in front of the TV or the game console, hell I do it. I’m more worried about what they AREN’T doing. Especially with children.
If you are pacified by the TV, or some other electronic thing, chances are you aren’t thinking about the walk you could take, the place you could go fishing, a trip to the zoo, a skill you could learn. I often wonder what happened to the great old art of “talking” or “teaching.”
This can most obviously be seen in going out to dinner. Go on. Go out to dinner with a bunch of friends, friends under the age of 35 especially. They are GLUED to their phones the whole time. My BFF found a fantastic idea called “phone stacking.” Put your phone on the table at dinner, all of you, first one to pick it up has to pay the bill. I thought this was a great idea but then she asked me:
“Well, what if your phone is ringing?” See what I mean? What are honestly the chances that THAT phone call is an emergency one? And if you are really worried about it, then how about if the phone rings incessantly, THEN it’s ok to pick it up. But, with the advent of technology feeds the “I-can-get-ahold-of-you-any-time-I-want” mentality, and the definition of “emergencies” become well, slightly altered.
I’ve gone fishing in the past where my friends haven’t put down their phones the whole time. I HATE that, you are in nature, enjoy it. If I go hiking, unless I need the GPS, the phone gets LEFT in the CAR. It’s just me and the dog and the noises around us.
When I suggest to people to unplug, including their children, they almost get into a panic. They start to make excuses like addicts. Well, just this one last week or I can’t because…it’s actually rather sad. What’s sadder is if you’ve ever know children who are addicted or “raised” on television, you’ll notice that their attention spans for anything, literally, are about 8-10 minutes long: exactly the amount of time between commercials. How about instead of just family xbox game night or family board game night, there’s family craft night? Family hike night? Family garden day? Something that sort of disconnects you from a serious central focal point of amusement and hones a skill or appreciation? I’m certainly not battering the way people do things, they are just suggestions. I get sad at the thought of “environmental deficiency” and I’m most certain that this condition actually exists. So many people don’t even get daylight nevertheless proper outside time.
As a chick who loves crafting and everything “homey” I mourn the days of crafting circles and actually LEARNING things from other women. Not buying DVD’s, books or looking it up on the internet. Nor am I talking about circles where everyone just gets together and does their craft and talks, though, those are a lot of fun. But knowing someone who knows how to knit, sew, make this or that and will teach you, having days out of the season to all get together and can stuff, or make pierogis (which is a PAIN to do alone) or whatnot. It’s not just the act itself, it’s the social bonding as well. It’s how memories are made. It reminds you no man is an island. But the people who still do these things in and of themselves are few and far between, nevertheless a whole group of people in the same area.
I’ll notice a lot of people saying too that “they aren’t interested.” That annoys me. Maybe it’s because I really do believe in broadening one’s horizons, but how do you know if you aren’t interested if you don’t try?
All that being said, I don’t hate technology. I LOVE it. It certainly has it’s place. When I think of all the waste in landfills that things like MP3 players and Kindles have saved (though I still do love me an old book, and I’m totally sad at the closing down of SO many book stores), or how many lives technology has saved, I certainly know it has it’s place. I just often worry that this technology, instead of having it’s place and enhancing our lives, is simply taking it over.
Perhaps try a little bit today to unplug and listen to the silence. See if there is something there. Or enjoy that there is nothing there at all. Quiet, organic time is something that can be very rich and fulfilling, especially when you’ve only your own thoughts and the noises outside or in the house. It’s totally amazing the things that are there that you’d never notice if you are pinned to your phone.