The Unplugged Diaries

This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 6-year-old daughter Viva, who is sometimes goes entire minutes without watching YouTube.

Saturday, March 10 (actually, sundown on Friday) is National Day for Unplugging, and yesterday our friend Katie Adams laid out some ways you can spend this technophobe holiday reconnecting with your family. It seems like a valuable experiment, extricating ourselves from the electronic network that has divided our nation, numbed our minds, addicted us to approval, hollowed out our retail sectors, allowed the ascendance of trolls and hackers and destroyed our dinner conversations. You can make like a 21st Century Ned Ludd, smashing the looms of the Zuckerbergs and the Bezoses.

However … 

Before you take part in National Day for Unplugging, perhaps you best read my journal entries from the last NDU and make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to go cold turkey for 24 hours.

Please note, time are approximate as no one has owned a regular clock since the ‘90s.

8:00 a.m. – What is that crashing sound? Where is Viva? (My 6-year-old daughter) Let me check my texts and then go down the hall to … oh, right, it’s National Day for Unplugging. I can’t check my phone. Jeez, I hope work didn’t write me. I wonder what my nerd friends are talking about on Facebook? I wonder what’s happening with that reality TV guy running for President?  

Ah, well, I’ll go down the hall and see what Viva is doing instead of watching YouTube.

Oh, she’s toppled over a China cabinet playing explorer. I guess nobody uses formal dishes anymore anyway.

8:30 a.m. – So nice to be pacing around the house in the morning instead of hunched over a screen. I wonder if Paul F. Thompkins has any funny tweets about pacing around the house? Oh, right … no phone. Well, what shall I do today? I’ll look at Chicago Parent or something and figure out if there are any festivals or concerts today. Wait? Where do I find that if not on my phone? Is there a newspaper machine somewhere with a Trib in it? Do they still publish the Trib? Where do I find a newspaper machine? What does a paper cost? Do they still print physical money?

8:40 a.m. – What’s the weather outside? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE WEATHER IS OUTSIDE?!8:41 a.m. – Looked outside. It isn’t raining. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE TEMPERATURE IS?!

8:42 a.m. – Went outside. Sucks outside.

8:45 a.m. – There is Play-Doh everywhere. And Legos. Non-electronic playing is so messy.

9:00 a.m. – Viva wants to make slime. What’s the recipe for slime? The cookbooks have been put away for ten years. Is slime even in cookbooks?

9:15 a.m. – I am covered in Elmer’s Glue. I don’t think this is how you make slime. I wonder if work wrote me? I should text my wife and see if she can pick up more slime ingredients on her way back from her morning run. Wait … how do I talk to her? Do I release a pigeon with a note on its leg? What if she gets lost? What is she listening to? How did she know what the temperature was?

9:30 a.m. – How does one listen to music? I think I have some cds in a case in the walk-in closet. I don’t have a cd player. I can order one on Amazon Now and have it in an hour. Oh, wait, no I can’t.

9:45 a.m. – Viva is crying for YouTube. Or Netflix. What is going to happen to my SnapChat streaks?!

10:00 a.m. – To stay occupied and give our daughter a plan, we’ve written out things we did to pass the time during our own childhood in the ‘80s. The list so far:

Hiding in old refrigeratorsReading Playboys we found in old barrels in the woodsBeating up kids who are different than usTrespassingAvoiding stray animalsVandalismCigarettesAvoiding getting kidnapped by/Getting kidnapped by Satanic Cults

Okay,  looks like ‘80s kid activities are out.

10:15 a.m. – Is it too early to start drinking? If I do drink now, how do I log what I drank into an app where I can rate it and tell my friends? What time is it?

10:30 a.m. – Viva is setting small fires. Has work emailed me?

10:45 a.m. – What are we doing today? What are our friends up to? What am I having for lunch? HOW DO I GET LUNCH TO COME TO MY HOUSE?! HOW DO I PAY FOR THE LUNCH IF I CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT TO EAT AND HOW TO GET IT? WHAT MOVIES ARE PLAYING TODAY AND WHEN AND WHERE ARE THEY PLAYING AND WHAT IS THEIR TOMATOMETER SCORE?!

11:00 a.m. – We’re back online. We were starving to death and my kid wanted to jump over downed power lines on her bike. Nobody has time for that 20th century nonsense. When GrubHub gets here with my brunch I’m going to immediately put a picture of it online. If we can’t know what our friends think of pictures of our food, why the hell are we even alive?

Happy National Day for Unplugging.

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