Trading Conversations with Gadgets

If there’s one thing I want to throw away, that is my husband’s iPad. When my husband comes home for lunch, he opens his iPad and closes it only when he’s ready to go back to the office. When he arrives in the afternoon and snacks while resting, his iPad is in front of him. Before dinner, he is glued to his iPad. After dinner, even before I’m finished eating (because I’m always the last one to finish), his iPad stands on the table between us. I so want to throw his iPad. I’m sure you get the picture? Is it the same scene in your homes, too?

(image source)

This is the painful part: since I can’t go out because of my illness, our bedroom is my world. That’s the truth (but please don’t pity me ~ :) ). Since our bedroom is in front of the house (beside the living room), I hear all sounds from the street and the neighbors’ movements across it. But I only see the street and the people and cars passing – from my window. From the bed (which is my writing and reading place, etc.), I can also gaze at the patio and garden through the french doors and watch the bunnies dart and nibble on my poor, undernourished plants. I hear the birds’ excited warbling amongst the branches of the narra tree but I can’t see them flitting and fluttering their wings.

Those are the sights and sounds of my day, everyday, from morning ’til dusk. That is, until the husband and kids arrive from the office and school in the afternoon. Only then my world becomes alive with human interactions.

But most of the day, my world is silent. Only my mind is full of conversations and words and chatter, which come out through writing novels and blogging (I just completed my first novel The Homecoming).

So, you understand that I crave for conversations. I’ve always loved conversations. All kinds – playful bantering with a Kindergarten kid, serious exchange with an elderly neighbor, frenzied chatter with a good friend, animated discussion with a spouse or better yet, a romantic conversation, heart-to-heart talk with a teenage child. I could go on and mention a wonderful exchange with a stranger (not the dangerous kind, mind you), the giddy exchange with a new acquaintance, and so on.

But I don’t think that world still exists today: when people talk to each other, eye to eye, noticing the nuances and inflections of the voice and language; how the corners of the eyes crinkle at a warm statement, or the lips twitch trying to stifle a smile, when a solitary tear trickles down the side of a face because a word has touched a person? Do couples, families, the world, still talk to each other? Really talk to each other, as in they are all there?

This is not a rare scene at home: husband is glued to his iPad, daughter to her smart phone, son to a borrowed cellphone or laptop (usually checking origami-making videos), and me, to my Macbook. The room is quiet. No one is talking to another. Where have spoken words gone? I once saw a picture of a small restaurant (more of a carinderia) with the sign: NO WIFI, TALK TO EACH OTHER! Exactly!

While my husband is gone, I plan the things I want to tell him when he comes home – some serious, some funny, some sweet. When I hear him at the door, I shut my laptop (after I’ve saved whatever I was writing) and eagerly anticipate a good conversation with him. But he gets hold of his iPad and I’m forgotten. At the dining table, I looove to talk (that’s the best place to talk, I think). When the kids leave the table, I’m excited to talk with my husband, but his eyes flit from the iPad to me, usually giving me a blank stare. It’s frustrating to say the least!

But one day, I put my foot down and told him this must stop. Thankfully, my hundred spoken words or so had their effect on my husband and he changed his ways.

We need real conversations, people!

I love how the King James version of the Bible puts it:

Thus were they defiled with their own works,
and went a whoring with their own inventions. (Ps. 106:39)

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I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Still Saturday and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,