Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Sometimes, lately, the workday never ends. Between the humming laptop and the vibrating Blackberry, never mind the landline that’s supposed to be unlisted but for some reason isn’t, you’re almost always online — even when you’re not. Winding down has never been harder, and it's taking its toll.

The wife begs you, "Relax!" You fire back, "I will — as soon you get off the phone!" Blame it on the boss, pin it on traffic, point your finger at the monthly report. Just as much, though, whether you admit it or not, it's a case of technology overload.

As great as all your gadgets are, you've been rewired — and it's driving a widget between you and your spouse. Quality time with each other is at a premium, "me time" is almost non-existent - and you may as well forget about the kids… You haven’t seen them unplugged from their earbuds since you stuffed the things in their stockings last Christmas!

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for a break. Perhaps it’s time to re-focus on what’s important. Possibly, finally, it’s time to relax...

At my house, especially now that the mercury’s started to drop, that means turning off the electrical devices and building a fire. The only light I want when I’m ready to ‘log out’ is the natural light produced by the flickering flames. Anything with a blinking LED or a glowing screen, whether it’s my laptop or my TV, has simply got to go.

No ifs, ands or buts — not even from the kids.

After all, studies have shown that all that artificial light is bad for our sleep patterns. Better to focus on what's really real: the fire now raging in my hearth. It grows warmer by the minute, and brighter. The only light is that reflected off the fireplace doors, shimmering through the room. My eyes lose focus, my pulse slows down, my ears tune in to the crackle and pop...

And finally, I’m there. The workday disappears. The emails will still be in the in-box come morning, the boss can leave a voice mail. As the conversation rekindles between me and the missus, are hearts thaw and I remember what it means to be a family man.

Eventually, even those earbuds come out.

For the foreseeable future, we're all someplace else - and together.

I’ll let you know when we're ready to log back in.

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