Saturday, January 05, 2008

tag-team fogies

I used to imagine that when my kids were teenagers I'd be hip (or something like it--but that's probably not even remotely the right word to use, so I'm already off to a bad start). Not that I ever was in the first place--I just figured I'd be this incredibly open-minded guy who would listen to the same music as his kids, watch the same shows, keep up with their technology, and be able to discuss such things seriously. I noticed at the time that Julie's taste in music seemed to be drifting more adult, while I was going in the opposite direction, listening to Rage Against the Machine, Kid Rock, Eminem, and System of a Down. I've always been something of an arm-chair techie, and a couple of years ago I got my first mp3 player (not impressive in itself, but relatively speaking--I'm not sure Julie has much clue what to do with an mp3). I've been into newsgroups and e-mail lists for years; she's started on them more recently. I was also the first one to start a blog.

On the other hand, Julie was the first one to get a cell phone. I resisted until I started taking the bus to work and figured it would be helpful if we could communicate during my long, sometimes unpredictable commute. Now, she's joined Facebook, which I want nothing to do with (or anything like it). To me, it seems like a colossal waste of time. I have no idea what the point is of "poking" your friends, nor do I think I want to understand. A while back someone invited me to join an Orthodox networking group. I had no interest then, and I have no more now.

Frankly, I think I'm moving back the other way. If anything, these days I'm looking for ways to get offline. I'm avoiding actual discussion groups. (There are a few that I nominally watch, but none in which I actively participate, including the one I moderate.) I'm still blogging, though I keep asking myself how useful it really is. I'm trying to cut back my dependence on websites for reading. I recently subscribed to a couple of Orthodox periodicals, and I've been trying to assemble a basic Orthodox library of materials I can keep coming back to. I'm trying to spend less time with earphones on my commute. My selection of music has shifted radically--instead of the latest and greatest, I'm listening to centuries-old chants--and even there, I view it as a necessary evil. I would rather be in services regularly enough to pick up the music there, but since my circumstances prevent it, I listen to recordings--for now.

I'm not sure what I'll do when it comes to interacting with my kids about their music and other forms of entertainment. At this point, though, I highly doubt that I'll be meeting them where they are--at least, not in the way I used to envision it. I find myself saying "amen" when someone says kids need direction, not necessarily discussion. I'll be the dad who doesn't like what's on TV, or new technology, or pop music, or electric lighting--who seems like he'd feel more comfortable in a monastery or a shack somewhere in the woods. My kids will avoid me when they bring their friends over (assuming they're not too embarrassed for that)--and I'll know I'm doing my job.

I guess one of these days I should tag Julie again, but right now I'm having too much fun being the fogey. And with that, I need to go whip myself for spending so much time writing this online ;-)


Julie said...

It's no surprise to me that you want to go live off in a shack somewhere. I think from the time we started dating (15 plus years ago) you said you always wanted to be a hermit!

Julie said...

Oh and how can we be fogies if we I.M. each other while sitting 2 feet away from each other in the living room. :)

Trevor said...

Yeah, I guess a lot of things have been coming full-circle lately. But notice that I didn't say I want to go off and live in a shack--only that I'm the kind of person who "seems like he'd feel more comfortable in a monastery or a shack somewhere in the woods."

And of course now, "hermit" has a whole new meaning for me :-)

As for im-ing in the living room, that's mostly because you're deef. (Again with the fogey thing.)

Justin said...

Well hey, Amber and I play cards online together in the same room. She'll probably reply when she sees my comment, and she's sitting right next to me.

Sometimes I think it might be nice to be off the grid (...he types into his laptop while sitting on his bed watching a presidential debate on television...).