The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day 18 — “The Ghosts of Christmas Future”

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I was situated on a barstool at Corkscrew in Blackstone, grading a stack of essays, when Sonja called.  The news isn’t something I can share in our blog, but there was some serious upheaval at her work and, at least for a while, this adds substantially to Sonja’s workload. I told her I’d go get the kids and make dinner, then got into a conversation and ended up ordering pizza for dinner from Varsity. Good stuff.

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I used to do a lot of my grading from a barstool, though lately far less due primarily to time constraints. Yesterday, I was being very productive and enjoying a glass of Brunn Gruner Veltliner from Austria. “On tap” wines still throw me, but for $8/glass it was absolutely solid. Nice aromatics, crisp and highly acidic, flavorful and slightly tart. I’d definitely drink it again.

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I got the kids from daycare and we got home in time to play with some of our new toys before the pizza arrived. When it finally did get here, the kids were overjoyed. They’re big fans of pizza.  Zooey for a while refused to come to the table. She was on a call.  “I think this is a sing of things to come,” Sonja told me. Better not be, I thought.

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Zooey doing that made me think a bit. I may be on my phone too much in front of them. I suppose to a toddler a phone is a weird little box that consumes too much of mom and dad’s time, and often distracts them from their kids. I’m going to give this additional thought, and attempt to let that thought inform my actions, lest future Christmases be plagued with a teenage girl or boy who obnoxiously refuses to come to dinner because of their phone. It’s cute when she’s one. It won’t be soon.

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After dinner, we went up and continued playing with our new toys.  As we did, my phone kept buzzing in my pocket. When Zooey and Sonja went down to put Z to bed, I changed Titus and read him How The Grinch Stole Christmas yet again, and as I did my phone buzzed incessantly in my pocket underneath the little boy sitting in my lap. He seemed not to notice, but I was furious by the time it was over. I kissed the top of his little head and laid him in his crib with his new blanket and his stuffed animals. Then I turned out the light and looked at my phone.  None of it, none of it, was important, much less urgent. Why hadn’t I just left my phone in the bedroom?

As I think of the future, I cringe at the role these little devices might play in our lives. Already, they impact my students’ by distracting them and keeping them from doing their best work, and they plague them with negativity on social media. My iPhone is getting old, and I’m wondering a bit if I can trade my smartphone in for a dumb one. I’m also wondering if my kids can go without phones until, well, maybe college. I think I make a pretty good curmudgeon. Bah humbug to phones!

Cheers to spending tech-free time with your family (I’ll try again tonight),

Mark

 

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