So many screens and not enough skipping rocks

We had a wonderful adventure and smooth family trip traveling to Seattle, and surrounding islands, for my cousin Bonnie’s wedding two weeks ago.The quality time of

IMG_5366IMG_5372 IMG_5374being with family from so far away, combined with adventures in the great outdoors, gave me the gift of being with and seeing my kids and family in real time. The phones and screens that we use to connect or distract occasionally (phone calls, Facetime, Google hangout, kid “electronic time”- mostly Minecraft,  wedding prep meetings with the couple..just to name a few) were put aside. Touch, eye contact, conversation, cuddling, and group interaction played out at full tilt.


Oakley’s genuine AWE on the airplane from the sight outside the window


The complete sibling, cousin set with Maama…silly heads.


COUSINS! Vienna, Andi, Eli, June, and Oaks

We hung out, laughed lots, celebrated and cheered, had to say goodbye and then came home.

After vacation, it’s hard to cook.

Drew and I decided to take our family to Chili’s for dinner two days after being home. This is a rare, almost NEVER-EVER experience for Team Osborne. The five of us do not go out to eat. Alas, we had a gift card and no motivation for making food appear on the table at home.

The kids were surprised but game…who doesn’t love chocolate milk refills and french fries? We got a big booth, long table, and upon it, a small screen. The screen is a “Ziosk”- a small computer offering games, menu browsing, advertisements, and we’d find out later, a way to pay at the table. We asked to have it taken away when we sat down as screens are intoxicating and distracting to what we were trying to accomplish: quality family dinner time- in a commercial restaurant? Yes we wanted it all.

Our waitress was great, our food mediocre, and the clean up we had to do: non-existent. We had a great time.

Then we had to pay. Our friendly, attentive waitress brought back the silly screen and required, didn’t offer, that we pay at our table. She walked us through it standing there and then said goodbye. The whole experience rubbed me a little bit the wrong way.

I know computers are helpful, essential, and powerful. And yet, I cringe and pout when screens take the spot of a person. I didn’t want more work for the waitress- her having to go back to a different screen and run our card and all, but wanted her to do what she could do as well as a screen or even better and without the extra-nonessential interface. 

Seems screens instead of people has been in my face lately.

In Seattle, we ordered from a Subway drive-thru with a touch screen. It seemed smooth enough but prohibitive as well. We couldn’t ask for mustard on just half or for the footlong to be cut into thirds. In the end, I had to get out of the car and enter the restaurant, intercepting our order and asking for mustard packets and a specific slicing set up. The worker danced back and forth between the window where Drew was paying with a credit card, and me with my special requests.

Finally, we’ve been to the library three times in seven days. We are potty training Oakley (still too new for commenting) which has us upping our reading times.  Plus we just love the library- we gobble up books.

Over a year ago, the desks with “my people” (friendly library staff) were moved back and to the left, and four check-yourself-out (actually, check your own books out- it’s not a mirror) stations with SCREENS were placed front and center. No longer any need to stand across a desk from a person checking out my books, I can do it all myself, while chasing kids and juggling books.

The library screen is much smoother than Subway’s or Chilis’ and serves a money and time saving purpose for a non-profit, while serving the consumer pretty well. Still, I miss the help and the friendly conversation of the library staff. Now I only get to talk to them when I have to pay a fine.

I’m adjusting, digesting, and fighting the screen infiltration. In some ways revealing my low-tech/anti-tech tendencies, in other ways,  perhaps preserving person-hood and teaching my kids that real life happens best in real life.

We came home from Chili’s that night and took a walk. We went down to the small pond, ran into a neighbor, and skipped/tossed rocks as a family. It felt like really good, real life. I sat in the moment, loving it, living it and being grateful. Then, I took a screen shot of it.IMG_5346


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.