From the Editor’s Unplugged Evening

From the Editor's Unplugged Evening by Ben Martin, Image by Salva Barbera

We’ve got a lot of movie reviews this week in The Father Life. Miguel reviewed Wall-E and The Mummy: Curse of the Dragon Emperor on Tuesday, while we have a review of Pineapple Express from Nick Belle coming later this week. In some ways, this entertainment-heavy schedule is very much like the life I find myself leading.

Most of my days end with time in front of one screen or another: a computer screen, passing the time on Facebook or reading blogs, or a TV screen, watching a sitcom or a movie, or playing a video game. Then the weekend comes, and, for something special, I… watch a movie. Wow. What an original idea.

From the Editor's Unplugged Evening by Ben Martin, Image by Salva Barbera

It’s not that I’m necessarily unhappy with my media consumption. It’s not something I spend a lot of time on. I don’t start watching TV at 8 PM and stay until 12:30 AM. But I do get in an hour or so every evening–sometimes more. It’s certainly not something I think about often. But tonight was different.

We lost power tonight. A string of thunderstorms knocked out power right after dinner, and it wasn’t restored until almost 10 PM. That’s not really very long to go without power, but it was long enough. Gone was the whir of fans. Gone was the buzz of electronics. Gone was the instant entertainment of the TV or the internet. It was dark, too, and the oil lamp I was using for light was fine for getting around the house, but not bright enough to read by. After getting the kids taken care of and tucked in for the night, I was left with almost nothing to do. No work could really be done. No entertainment could be had.

It was, in a word, wonderful. I remember encountering similar situations as a kid. “Boring” was the term I used for them then. What’s the point of doing nothing? And, for the most part, I’m still there. I don’t like idle time. But there was something different about this evening. It wasn’t idle time; I wasn’t avoiding work. There was simply nothing to do. Nothing that needed to be done and nothing that could be done.

It was a very, very relaxing experience. It was restful and, in a way, healing. I’d like to find a way to incorporate some of that into my schedule–and my family’s schedule–on a regular basis.

Honestly, I don’t think it can be accomplished. We’re too busy, and with six people in the house, there’s always something that needs to be done somewhere. But if I can ever figure out how to incorporate this absolutely free time into our schedule, I’m going to. Got any suggestions?

Ben Martin is Editor-In-Chief of The Father Life.

Image by: Salva Barbera, SXC

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