behind the screen

(skirt: Old Navy, sweater: Old Navy, thermal shirt: Target, boots: Kohls, scarf: really old)
Driving home last week, I was listening to NPR and caught part of an interview with George Clooney.  He was talking about his new movie or some awards show or something that really had nothing to do with me.  Then the interviewer asked him a question about being constantly followed around by paparazzi and how cell phones had changed the way fans interact with him.  He said it was kind of sad how people are so concerned with getting the picture or video on their phone that they’re not even interacting with him.  So later they brag to their friends that they got a picture of George Clooney, but they don’t realize what they missed out on by not being present in that moment. (He actually gave the example using Brad Pitt so the story didn’t sound like he was bragging about how awesome he was.)

Normally I don’t pay too much attention to what celebrities say, but this struck me as profound.  I started wondering how much of my world I miss while trying to document it.  What interactions, conversations, or images am I ignorant of while I’m trying to (ironically) catch that moment on camera?  And not just while trying to take pictures, but messing with my phone, wasting time on Facebook, or–dare I say it–blogging?  I don’t want to be so worried about what is going on with the outside world that I forget to see what’s going on in mine.  
The morning after the NPR story, I was at the gym on the weight machines that overlook the basketball court where Saturday morning basketball leagues were going on.  Four and five year olds running up and down the court, never dribbling, and hardly ever getting a ball near the net.  It was chaos and very entertaining.  One father was there, videotaping the whole game using his iPad.  As I watched him, I realized how sad it was that instead of watching this hilarious game live, he was four feet from the action and watching it through his screen.  I wanted to yell at him to put the iPad down and just watch the game.  Maybe use his hands to clap instead of hold the camera. 
I’m all for documenting my children’s lives.  But maybe there is a point where the electronics just need to be turned off and we just need to be with people.  And all our stuff is getting in the way of that.  I don’t want my daughters to grow up with the impression that my computer is more important than playing Go Fish.  Or that someone’s status who I haven’t actually spoken with in ten years is more interesting than coloring and reading.  Or talking to my husband. 
Dang you, George Clooney.  Dang you.        

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