Thursday, August 04, 2005

Plugging In and Dropping Out

Blogging chez Mama has been a bit tricky. I do have access to quite a few computers and have wireless available. I also have plenty of content. But, to tell the truth, my blogging behavior is driving mom crazy. The very word Blog irritates her. Each time I disappear to check my email or read some news online, she follows me so that she can "catch me in the act." When I hear her walking down the corridor I start to get tense, and try to extract myself from the screen before she gets into the room. If I am too engrossed, and can't pull it off, she scolds me and points out that this behavior is somehow ruining everyone elses' time.

I will concede that I am probably being a bit irritating. But, nonetheless, I am sort of annoyed that I am being singled out for this blogging behavior. I mean, everyone takes a little "me time" on vacation, right? And, so what if I spend my "me time" this way?

But, honestly, I don't think this is what irritates her. There is some deeper revulsion she has to me plugging into a world beyond her home when I visit. Before email, I would check in with various things via the phone. If she caught me on the phone, she would stand over me and demand I get off because I was running up her bill. Ok, fair enough. But then I got a cell phone. I thought the problem was solved. I would run up my own long distance bill. It didn't work. Soon, mom would find me in some odd contortion, trying to get a reliable signal, and demand that I come inside to help her with something right away.

After several years of this: I make calls, she tracks me down and tells me to get off, I started to think about why this bothered her.

I still don't really know. Any guess, all speculation is ultimately just that.

Yesterday, however she started mocking my blogging while everyone (Jack, Drew, Oma and me) was in the car. She got everyone stirred up into a holier-than-though conversation about how they don't check their email but twice a day. And, how annoying it is that no one reads anymore because they are on the web. Drew went off on people that email you from the floor beneath you to ask you a question, when they could simply walk up to your office. Jack complained about long emails that would be better conveyed over the phone. Mom complained about cell phones interrupting time with families (she owns a TREO btw).
Damn Luddites!

I just rolled my eyes. All of these folks own cell phones, lap tops, palm pilots, email accounts and IM. And, each of them have snuck off at some point in the last few days to conduct business on one of these devices. I am totally straight up about my desire to go read news and blogs online. My mom reads the newspaper in the morning, what's the difference? And, blogging each day is not so different than writing in a journal, which Jack does.

So, what's this about? The Luddite crew ganging up on me! Why is my mom particularly distressed when I do this? My best guess is because she thinks my behavior suggests that I would rather be at home than here with her. And, this is not true. There are a lot of things I could do that would suggest this, i.e. repeating over and over again that I hate being here and I want to go home. I love visiting my mom. But, I am still me: sort of ADD and therefore stimulated by what's going on around me and afar.

The technology, which can draw your attention away from the specific space you are in, worries her. If I sat next to her on the couch and read a book while she flipped through channels, she would count this as quality time.