So I'm going to share something a little more personal today. Let me bring you inside our home for (what would have been) our normal routine.
W. gets up for work and has a shower. He asked me last night if I would start his breakfast while he was in the shower, in an effort to save him time. No problem. So we both got up at the same time, basically. He had his shower and I started his oatmeal.
I sat on the couch with the iPad, checking messages from the last several hours (one thing about living in a country/time zone 6 hrs ahead of everyone else leaves much for one to catch up with in the morning). Checked basics like email and chat messages, then I went on Facebook. He was not yet out of the shower and there was not much to attend to with his breakfast except to let it cook. I spun through the feed of the last several hours, checking the usual updates and 'shares' (Weird Al Yankovic's Word Crimes exploded overnight, I see. You should watch it if you're a grammar nazi.. it's fantastic).
He got out of the shower and got his breakfast and sat next to me on the couch. Now, he likes to play a couple of games in the morning before work. I knew this, but I was just trying to finish reading my feed quickly aaand.. admittedly I got a bit caught up in it. "I'm almost there," (to where I last read) I said to myself. Spin. Spin. Meanwhile, he's letting me know gently that he'd like to use it. I keep going. I'm almost there, as you know. He lets me know more. I keep spinning. Now he gets vocal about it and after a few seconds I finally shut it off and hand it to him, but with a look. He takes it, turns on his game and we continue staring at each other. He knows I'm thinking something, but I'm not sure he can quite place what it was.
Finally he gets pissy and says, "You know what, it's not worth it." We're on the verge of a fight. Shuts off his game, hands it back to me and walks away. I sigh and said (too late), "It's fine! Play your game!" I shut it off, throw it on the couch and go talk to him. He's polite, but curt....
"...Nope, I can see it's very important to you."
"Can you please talk to me?"
"Nope. It's okay." (read: not at all okay)
I sigh. I stand at the door, he walks past me.
I huff and get his lunch ready for work, frustrated at this point and starting to get upset and maybe slam a couple cupboard doors.
I slightly shout, "I'm trying to talk to you instead of getting angry."
I slap his sandwhich together, hating that he's leaving the house for work before talking because now I'm starting to get upset. I didn't want to fester with this all day in my head.
Now before I continue on with the rest of the morning, let me preface with what was in my head. What I wasn't saying -> If I don't get moving first thing in the morning (and I sit around and catch up on Facebook or games or computer, etc), I get nothing done. That lack-luster energy follows me the rest of the day. I hate it. I've already spent the last two days feeling unproductive, I didn't want today to be like that too, so that's why I was getting my Facebook in early. Also, sometimes I feel ignored while he's "in his game" on the iPad and I.. don't exist. So, perhaps I felt a little spiteful and wanted to see how he would feel if I did that. He wasn't seeing my master plan at the time.
He comes in the kitchen, leans against the counter facing me and says he's ready to talk now.
I breathe a silent sigh of relief.
I can't help it though, and tears well up even more while I'm trying to vocalize my emotions. I explained what was going on in my head (the unconveyed thoughts) and he pulled me in for a hug. "I never meant to make you feel less important than a game," he says. The anger melts away.
We talk a bit more and all is well before he leaves the house. /end scene
Near when I was leaving Canada, I had a small get-together at my house. At one point there was just a handful of us (3, 4 maybe) sitting around a table outside. On the topic, I'd mentioned that when I came here, I was going to keep cell phones off the table at dinner time. I'd *literally* heard guffaws, "Ha!"'s and even one very dramatic/slightly comical eyebrow raising. Apparently it was common consensus I lived in my phone. To me, rightly so; I was trying to stay connected to a partner 6000+ miles away which given time differences and work schedules, wasn't easy. Still, I meant it. I would like those friends to know *cough* I have held true to my word. We've even gone as far as making low-tech or tech-free Sundays. No word of a lie. We barely turn on a device on Sundays. Quickly maybe, if I want to check the weather for the day if we're going out, but that's it. Connecting with my partner one-on-one is more important than any technology device.
So I'm left thinking after this morning; at what point are we allowed to 'shut off' (in whatever manner) and at what point do we engage with our partner? We all need that time to zone out, to get lost in something that is nothing. Unfortunately, I have opportunity to get mine the 10 hours he's gone for the day, and he only has his in the morning or evening. Who am I to interfere?
Well, that's something we're going to have to discuss further I guess. The convencience of an iPad (or insert small personal tech device of choice here) is super nice, but at a price. We've been hearing the adage for a while now; technology in it's connectedness, contributes to us feeling less connected. How do we find that happy medium? Is it possible to make everyone happy?
So.. I shall continue with my day and try to be more productive than I have been, sitting with this in the back of my head. I'll bring it up tonight and see if we can't talk it out more.
How much do you let technology in your house?
Do you know when to shut off and when to engage? Have you talked about it? When is it important for either of you to have your zone-out time? If one zones out with a device for a set time period, what is the other one doing? Is it something productive? Taking care of kids? Their zone-out time/alone time, too? I think a lot of these things are in our head and we make unspoken rules as we go along, but ask yourself when the last time was you talked about it.
Well, there is ironing to do (who irons anymore? Me doing tablecloths, apparently) and walks to go on and errands to run. The weather is fantastic today; sunny with little or no breeze. The heat and humidity is gone.