Today, we achieve the remotest reach of our annual family vacation — a tiny flyspeck of an island miles off the East Coast. We are hosted by my brother-in-law in rustic cottages of endless charm. No TV or cable. The plumbing is primitive and somewhat suspect (“In these isles of sun and fun, we never flush for number one.”) No A/C, washing machines, or traffic. Finally, blissfully unplugged.
That is, if you don’t count: five iPods of various types and generations, three cell phones (the coverage here is excellent), three digital cameras plus a Flip video, a Nintendo DS, a Garmin GPS, a Kindle (how did I ever travel without one), and a laptop. And thanks to my sister-in-law, the island now features wireless internet.
Unplugged = FAIL.
I treat my gadget addiction like I do most of my dependencies: I recognize it, offer it occasional resistance and periodic abstinence, but ultimately I have no strong urge to give it up. I felt a twinge of guilt when I came downstairs to find Coop curled up in an ancient wicker chair watching SpongeBob on the iPod Touch 16G, but I was confident that by the time I sat down to write this post that the thing would lie abandoned on the coffee table. The call of the beach is stronger. And there it sits.
Maybe it’s a sign of my addiction that I don’t really see the need to quit cold turkey. It’s a part of our life. If the imaginations of the kids on the island are stunted by the level of media saturation we permit, I didn’t see much evidence of it last night. There was an media enabled device on just about every flat surface they screamed past in their elaborate games of hide-and-seek.
Am I sounding defensive? Then allow me to hit the save button and post this blog to the internets and you can give me your thoughts on the subject. Vacations: plugged or not?