I mentioned just before the New Year that I was going to trim down the time I spend on Facebook, and stop a lot of the useless posting and "sharing" things there. So far I've been pretty successful at not sharing things that others post: The inspirational sayings, some of which I love; the interesting news stories, for the most part, because hey, other people have the ability to watch the news, I just won't be the first one to tell them. A couple of times I have caught myself seeing some inspirational thing that seems to hit the nail on the head and I catch myself in mid-click before I stop. Where I used to do perhaps 15 updates or more in a day, I'm down to three or four, and one of those is a link to my blog entries. I still do that because at one point I stopped, and several friends said they wanted me to post a link to blog entries because otherwise they forget to check for new entries.
I put the IPad down now if people are having a conversation, or if we have visitors or are the guests in someone's home. This has not been easy for me, first of all because at least half the people around me are playing with a device during a conversation: that's their business and has nothing to do with me, but old habits are hard to break and I want to join them. Also, sometimes conversations lag and get boring, or are of no interest to me: I get bored! Poor me.
Now that I'm not participating in this behavior, I understand how alone and ignored others must feel when they are one of the few people in a group actually paying attention to what is being said, or trying to keep a conversation going when nobody is truly listening. Even if you're just checking the phone and hear a little beep that tells you somebody texted you and then check it out, it's a clear sign you are more concerned about who might be contacting you than you are about the person in front of you. Oh, you have kids and have to keep checking on them? Somehow we survived without all this "connected" stuff until the late nineties. I hope I don't sound holier-than-thou, because believe me, I am still struggling with this issue in my own life.
Here's something though: Yesterday a relative visited with his eight-year-old daughter, a little girl I get along with quite well. We all had a nice visit in the house, ate (chili and potato soup), and visited some more. Then the guys went to the shop, leaving me and the child alone for a couple of hours. She and I talked and she showed me some dance moves and, in general, we had a good time. But guess what? When the adults went to the shop and I was alone with the eight-year-old, I got out the IPad. Now, she was playing on an IPad too, and this younger generation is used to being half-ignored and half-ignoring others, so I'm sure she thought nothing of it.
But does this mean that I don't consider a child worthy of my full attention? I'm still pondering that, because I know she was content with what we were doing. And yet at one point when she was attempting to do handstands, she looked at me and said, "Hey, you weren't looking; I almost did a handstand!"
I'm doing my best to stay disconnected from the Internet now when Cora is here, although I could do better. Every once in awhile I can't resist that siren call for another moment and I pick up the computer or IPad. I make it brief, but it's still a distraction from the real world.
Dear Lord, what's become of us? Who ever thought we'd come to a time when we prefer the company of an electronic device to real, in-the-flesh, human beings?