Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A missing voice -- what a change! -- and some digital alternatives for his company

My son is off at Boy Scout camp -- with no devices. No phone, no gaming system, no music. He's not all that plugged in versus his friends so the loss won't be that big for him...and he'll have plenty to do.

My remaining family -- transformed. With one less voice, it is strangely much quieter. Now, that's in part to my daughters not being harangued by a teasing brother for hours on end. We've had quieter hours all around, as my daughters have found ways -- digital and not -- to occupy their time with simpler pursuits.

My oldest is studying for her Mandarin final the old fashioned way: reviewing paper notes and speaking with one of her Chinese-speaking friends live (not by phone) for 1-1/2 hours last night at her house. She did tiptoe into TokyoPop's graphic novel reader this morning before we knew she was stirring, but did finally stumble down to breakfast.

My youngest is reading two newer The Warriors books (by Erin Hunter) without worrying about her brother taking them before she is done.

At the same time, she is the one wanting to plug in more to make up for her brother's absence, as they tend to spend every waking moment together. I acquiesced and let her use my Netflix subscription for its instant viewing option. And she is sorely disappointed, as the movie she was watching last night stopped and asked her to wait over an hour for the download. This doesn't make sense to her 10-year-old mind. We explained bandwidth and pipes for about 15 minutes, and she still shook her head as to why this happens with our cable modem. Not only do we have 3 shared computers but in the evening we are sharing the pipe with all our neighbors who are online. So in the morning? Not so much a problem.

So we have a little piece and a bit more quiet than normal and we're finding a little more space in our week for solo work. Nice every so often!

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