maura @ 6:37 pm
I’m always surprised at how fast things can change with early Spring weather. This time last weekend we were drinking hot chocolate after Jonathan took Gus and a pal to the park to get in some sledding and build a snow fort (after the 2 feet of snow we’d gotten the day before). Today it was 53 degrees and sunny, though there are still a few dirty piles of snow yet to melt. I took Gus to karate this morning, but we’ve spent the afternoon inside.
What is is about the internets that makes us want to own up to stuff that we’re maybe a bit ashamed about? I always feel guilty when we don’t take advantage of the nice weather and do something outside. The botanic gardens, the High Line, riding bikes in the park, getting back on our scooters: we could have done any of those things today. But I’m tired and Jonathan’s tired–indeed, we both napped, which is a rare luxury. Gus was perfectly happy to spend the day playing video games and watching Japanese Kirby videos (subtitled in English) on YouTube. And we’re planning to head to the zoo tomorrow so we’ll have plenty of opportunity for vitamin D and running around then.
You all know how I feel about video games, both for Gus and for myself. Recently we have put some limits on weekend gametime; the weekdays tend to police themselves, what with school and homework. But many weekends we’re doing stuff, too, in which case it’s not really an issue. We didn’t impose any limits today because Monday starts a 10 day electronic fast in our house. In Gus’s school the highest grades go on a camping trip each year, and to raise money for the trip they do a read-a-thon in which sponsors pledge a few cents a page. The teachers have decided that in the midst of the read-a-thon will be a 10 day period with no TV or other electronic devices. For everyone in the family, I might add.
I always feel a bit torn about these digital fasts. On the one hand, I do see some value in taking a break from electronics–they use electricity, and you don’t tend to move much while using them. They can also be kind of antisocial, though I hesitate to even bring that up because they can also be *more* social. When I’m talking to an old college pal on facebook aren’t I being more social than if I’m sitting on my sofa reading? And Gus already reads a ton–one day last month he read 219 pages of Harry Potter #2!–so it’s not like I’m worried that he’s not spending enough time hitting the books.
What I expect the 10 days will do (beyond raising money for the trip) is highlight my own various uses of electronics. Between my phone and laptop at home there’s work work (mostly but not solely email), research work, work-related reading, twitter (which is half work half not), personal email, news reading, facebook (actually not so much these days, maybe 2-3x/week), and TV/movie watching (I’ve been busy enough recently that there hasn’t been much gaming for me). Some of those can happen while Gus is asleep, so I don’t need to worry about them. But I do tend to use the phone, especially, to fill in at certain times. In the morning at the breakfast table I usually check weather, email, the NY Times, and twitter. In the evening while supervising Gus getting ready for bed I’m often catching up on personal email, twitter, facebook, or RSS feeds (overwhelmingly library- or higher ed-related).
Technically I won’t be able to use the phone or computer in that kind of filling in the cracks way during the electronics fast. Luckily I’m also about 2 months behind on New Yorkers, so maybe I can get through those, finally. But I predict that it’ll be hard to remember to check the weather at nights while Gus is asleep.