Most days when I get home from work, the only person who greets me is the dog. Nora Ephron’s famous quote sure rings true these days:
If the husband is home, he’ll also acknowledge my presence and usually ask me about my day.
But, if he’s out running or working late, it’s just me and Sam, the furry boy I never wanted, but now have come to love.
And, of course, the cats because they want fed.
But the kids? The teenagers in my house that I built with my own body? They almost never hear me come in the house because their ears are plugged with earbuds and/or they are in their bedrooms or the office with the doors closed and some ridiculous Netflix or YouTube show on.
They sit (or lay) with a tiny screen in front of their face (iPod, Kindle, cell phone…whatever) and headphones….like zombies who occasionally laugh out loud…or show up in the kitchen when they get hungry (headphones still in, phone still in one hand while they cook with the other).
It absolutely boils my blood.
I seethe. I clench my teeth and ask: Can’t you find anything better to do? Or, did you practice piano? Did you do your homework? Or I make them move: Go feed the cats. Put your laundry away.
This usually results in, at least, an eye roll if not a full-on fight about how I always tell them what to do and this is crap and why can’t they ever relax and they WERE outside for twenty minutes and blah, blah, blah, blah…
But, I can’t stand it. Because life is passing them by while they sit there, slack-jawed in front of some stupid electronic device.
Outside the water is running in Fourmile creek in the gorge in our OWN BACKYARD, the birds are returning, the grass and earth smells soft and wet, insects are beginning to crawl around again, the neighbors are coming out of their houses. Spring is happening. And, they’re missing it all.
They’re watching other peoples’ lives or…make believe lives on screens while the real thing — actual life — moves on. Time and their YOUTH passes them by and I’m increasingly worried they are addicted to this crap — this constant circus-circus of the Internet and they’re missing out on the truly remarkable and amazing things this world has to offer — like nature and family.
So this week begins a twice-a-week tech-free experiment because the truth is that I, myself, could use an intervention and a good reason to put my cell phone/laptop/tablet away for the entire night.
On Saturday, every member of my family got this:
I’ll make exception for music devices (provided it’s only used for music) and also for evening television as long as we are all watching the same TV in the same room.
Why? Because I was pretty excited about the Roseanne revival and looked forward to all of us laughing at it together and having this shared weekly experience, but here’s what has happened: I watch it alone every week, while every other member of my family is in their room on some other device, watching something else.
Enough. It’s time for an intervention.
Breaking any addiction begins with admitting you have a problem, right?