Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well, we don't bungee jump either...

When Hubby and I were first married we decided that one thing we would not buy for ourselves was a television. Since then we have been a TV-free home, with only one exception, and that was the day of 9-11, when we bungled together an aluminum foil antennae for our cheap all-in-one video player/TV. Once the crisis was over, we threw away our fancy antennae and went back to life as usual, watching an occasional video.

We have always tended to be on the cutting edge of backwater fads. We were one of the first families in our area to homeschool, and definitely the first family to homeschool completely from Day One to Year 13. And we were also one of the first around to completely forgo the doubtful pleasures of television. People at church-- our only social outlet at the time-- would ask,

"Hey, did you see (fill in the blank TV show) this week?"

I'd say, "No, we didn't."

And in answer to their blank stares I'd add, "We don't have a TV."

They usually looked at me as if I had said, "We don't have indoor plumbing."


Admittedly, this was before the whole evangelical campaign about limiting television viewing because of all the evidence that too much TV was bad for kids, and for grownups, and for families, and for intelligence. But really...why the shock? I used to say, "Well, we don't bowl either. So?"

(We have actually gone bowling occasionally since then; thus, the substitution of "bungee jumping" in my title.)

People are no longer shocked that we have no television. Instead, they are more likely to congratulate us for our commitment and values, which I think is almost funny. We're not doing anything different now than we were then, but then we were weird and now we're not.

So anyway, today I read this post, about the author's choices of which television programs she wants to watch in the new fall lineup, and she asked what our choices were, and if we don't have a list, what are we going to do instead?

That, I thought, is an interesting question. Since we're not watching TV, what ARE we doing?

I know we're spending one night a week at worship team practice, and maybe another night or two at some other outside activity; and sometimes we have company. But I think she means, "How are you spending your free evenings at home?"

Well, I could make us look good and say we spend our evenings reading classic books, sometimes aloud, and playing board games. But it wouldn't be true. I would also love to say we spend time in our garden, or taking walks, or playing frisbee in the yard, but that wouldn't be true either. We HAVE done all those things, at one time or another in our years of being a family.

But the season of life we're in right now looks much different. We are now in "The Computer Age." On many evenings at our house you will see six people on computers doing various things:

-playing Age of Empires, or Need for Speed
-reading forums
-browsing ebay
-coding, as in, designing websites for pay
-watching interesting stuff on YouTube
-catching up on MySpace
-chatting with friends
-checking email
-reading book reviews and excerpts on Amazon

And we're usually running back and forth to see what each other is doing: How's your game? Are you winning? Hey, come watch this cool video clip! Look at this awesome widget for sale. Let me read you a funny joke someone sent me. Hey, Mom, check your email; I just sent you a link.

{Pause for laughter-- we're communicating via email ACROSS THE HOUSE....! Oh the joys of technology......!}

Oh, and often someone is going "AARGH!" because they're a)losing a game, or b) having troubles with their computer, or c) getting frustrated over coding difficulties, or d) impatient with how slow a YouTube video is loading.

And now as I sit here on this particular night, I look around to see how accurate my list is at this moment. Right now I see:

-Person #1: playing Age of Empires
-Person #2: blogging
-Person #3: shopping online
-Person #4: working on his train set (hey! a non-computer activity!)
-Person #5: making a list of essential gear for a campout (another non-computer activity!)
-Person #6: discussing person #5's list. (cool! real conversation!)

Wow. Three out of six doing something NOT on the computer. I may have to be careful. The Age of Bungee Jumping could possibly be just around the corner.


Marti said...

I wax nostalgic from the part-time seventh computer....

Noelle said...

Hi, I use to watch a lot of TV before I had access to the internet, now I spend almost all the time online. I do have a TV, and watch a couple shows, but not as much as I use to. I don't watch youtube videos, but I know all the dificulties you listed, (accept of course youtube.) I know what it's like to break a website, (yep it was actually broken,) or to crash my computer. As for bundgee jumping, I would like to try that someday!!

carrie said...

I love it!!! We watch a lot of videos really but we don't have cable or satelite or any of that...but we now have two computers and are in the process of deciding on a third AND fourth *giggle*