As of this writing–in real-time–all five of us are consumed, an entire family connected to seemingly divisive devices. Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you–everybody’s on something. Got it. Let’s check-in with these humans and their vices.
Me. I’m on a laptop writing a blog post about my family, doing my best to remain focused, surrounded by jarring sounds, graphic images, driven to distraction. Forgive me if this written account sucks.
In an effort to concentrate I interrupt them, interview them throughout this post, gather lurid details on their habits, fact-check assumptions, compose a hardscrabble editorial. I love making the mundane meaningful.
Subjects #2 and #3
Mommy and the boy are glued to Xbox One, his recent birthday gift, his vision quest earned by a commitment to typical childhood chores. Making his bed, feeding his grotesquely bloated goldfish, getting dressed and occasionally making his breakfast, all served this one goal–gaming.
Hollering threats and near to tears–a train wreck lack of teamwork–Mommy and Jack eventually find their groove, and boy do they! Crushing multiple levels on Lego Jurassic World, first time out, true artists at work.
Mommy exhumes her Nintendo youth, latent skills erupting from untold hours playing The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. Having dissected first-person YouTube archives, Jack deftly draws from a ridiculous memory. His on-demand compendium serving as sage and guide, the go-to-guy for moves.
The two bond over the course of–at this point–3+ hours, and I’m cool with it because their relationship is evolving. Mommy needs Jack’s advice, something unheard-of in life outside of gaming. It’s soothing to hear the two flip-flop. Jack learns, too, to keep his sh*t together, play on a team and communicate the needs required to advance.
Prior to Mommy and Jack’s obsession, Forza Motorsport 6 was the main draw, me and the boy free-playing, eviscerating track after track behind a Lamborghini Gallardo or Bugatti Veyron. We’re exotic bastards.
I could go on and on about these cognitively and emotionally tethered players, but what about Subjects #4 and #5?
Roz and the iPad. Ultimate middle-child, a force to those who’ve witnessed her raw beauty and Jobsian “no blink stare.” Currently rifling through content, Elsa videos rule Rozzie’s day. Weirdest thing? Spiderman shows up in a boatload of these live-action vids, rescuing Elsa across various settings, creeping me out–for real. This genre makes me tense because costumed adults on the Internet ultimately lead to off-limits cosplay. Party over.
In any event, here’s the Roz taking a device break, accompanying me to Home Depot.
Our youngest, Bleegs, vestige of vanishing innocence, reviews a smart phone. Granted, she’s been given this device, which some might say is a no-no, easily a surrogate parent. I get it. To save us from DYFS, we’ve protectively dialed-up innocuous animal videos. C’mon, you’ve done it, too.
Her gaze is fixed, frighteningly so, on dolphins playfully flanking a massive tanker cleaving the Pacific. No one is safe from devices and their beguiling content.
We Eventually Unplug
Each of us realize, either consciously or unconsciously–and in our own way–it’s time to unplug and reconnect. Laptop, console and controllers power-down, iPad and smart phone lose their allure. Something called “dinner” occurs.
I edit the remaining words you’ve read and we call it a day. Baths, pajamas and prep for the coming week lead us to our final family device, the American staple of viewership–Television. Remember when TV used to sign-off, too?