Family Magazine

In Which I (again) Reluctantly Give in to the Advance of Technology

By Sherwoods
First I bought myself a Kindle.  Then, not wanting to share with Brandon on R&R, I bought him a Kindle.  Then Kathleen got a Kindle when she started fourth grade.  And finally my parents gave Sophia a Kindle for Christmas.  We now have four Kindles.  We also have a laptop and a desktop computer.  We have lots of technology, enough that almost everyone in the family could rot their brain on electronic media without having to share with anyone else.  Sharing is so last millennium.
Then a friend offered to sell me a used iPad.  Brandon and I had discussed tablets many times and had always come up with the same answer: no tablets.  There were a variety of reasons - we already have two computers, we don't use the computers we have that much anyway, we didn't want the children wasting their times on games, we prefer to spend time together as a family (whether anyone likes it or not!), we didn't have them growing up.
But the most compelling reason of all was to hold the moral high ground.  Because if you can't be snotty about something, how can you feel better about yourself than everyone else?  We don't eat organic food, we don't buy carbon offsets, we vaccinate our children, we drink sodas occasionally, and even let them eat breakfast cereals colored with red dye 40.  We didn't have much of a leg to stand on except technology.
But deep down, in that place where Brandon can't see, I wanted an iPad.  I justified it with the excuse that the girls wouldn't have to carefully arrange their computer time when Sophia starts using a more computer-intensive curriculum in the fall.  After all, that really is almost inhumane.  Nobody should have to fight for computer time.  It's a basic human right, to have all the computer time you need.  It's for school after all.
But really, the lure of pretty, expensive, cutting edge technology sang its siren song in my ear.  "Look at me," it whispered, "look how thin I am, with my smooth oleophobic glass.  I can give you computer access half a second faster than any other machine you have.  No more cumbersome typing, just fancy tapping.  You don't have to look so unfashionable with your laptop.  Nobody cares if it's a MacBook Pro.  It has a keyboard.  I don't have a keyboard.  Just a smooth, shiny screen.  I'm so sleek and sexy.  And I can bring you apps."
Mostly I ignored it.  For all of its whispering, it cost money and Brandon wasn't about to agree to any more internet ordering any time soon.
But then I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  Which in itself isn't really an excuse for ordering unnecessary technology.  But taking a four year-old to your endo appointments because you're in a foreign country is a pretty good one.  I pitched to idea to Brandon, and surprisingly, he agreed.  About five minutes later I was drooling over the offerings showing off their thin lines and alluring specs on the Apple website.  Within a day my new toy tool was on its way.
It arrived with plenty of time to get everything kitted out for my upcoming trip to London.  I bought movies, downloaded apps, purchased books, and learned about all of the super-fancy swiping I could do to make my iPad experience even more user-friendly. The children enjoyed making slow-motion and time-lapse movies of themselves, and Brandon even enjoyed the feel of his finger slipping across his iPad's smooth oleophobic coating.  There's nothing so enjoyable as conspicuous consumption of consumer electronics.  It's all so very American.
And so now we are like everyone else.  When our airport waits stretch to interminable after twenty hours of traveling and the children just. can't. sit. still. and we used up all of our polite asking two continents and an ocean ago, we have the magical iPad to bring out and shut down their little brains with.  When we're waiting at a restaurant for our food to arrive and it's taken 45 minutes and everyone is half an hour past their bed time, the iPad can come to the rescue.  And of course when I'm taking with my doctor in London, Joseph can keep his incessant little voice quiet while he watches his favorite Wallace and Gromit episode for the fourth time that day.  Technology really is amazing.
But still, I'm not getting an iPhone.  I still have to have that shrinking moral high ground somewhere, right?  Cause I'm not planning on giving up those breakfast cereals.  Ever.

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