Be patient with me with everyone, I am about to paint you a picture - with words. There is no accompanying video and to read this might take longer than 6 seconds... let's all try really hard.
Dinner time in most houses in NZ: Everyone eating whilst watching phones, iPads, laptops - engaging all participants in a conversation-less pit of unaware despair. Any questions that might be asked are answered in a series of monosyllabic unintelligible grunts akin to a group of uncommunicative teenaged boys 'conversing' in the morning.
It becomes the norm to answer your child's homework question with "have you googled it?". Conversation at home is deemed something that gets in the way of social media or Netflix time. There is a swell of pride when you see your child able to 'multi screen' with a laptop, phone and iPad all being used together at the same time.
The best part is when someone complains about the level of other noises in the room and puts headphones on to block out all the distractions - shutting off completely.
Ok, so Dry July is about cutting out alcohol and being sponsored in order to donate to cancer research. I am doing that now (I started a couple of days early). Seeing as I am removing my favourite pastime for the next four weeks, I have decided that no one in the house is allowed to have any fun either. It's a little bit evil, but there you go. I like to call it 'turning the clock back to 1996'.
A cell phone operates only as a phone - and not a mini computer. It can be used for calls and for text messages - but no social media, 'googling', games or other such vacuous activities.
A computer becomes more like a word processor. It's as if the internet isn't there - or it's dial up and it takes so long to load a page you give up. We're taking it right back to 1996 when using the computer AND talking on the phone could not happen at the same time.
The iPad is just an oversized phone that doesn't make phone calls - so we will let those go flat. Silly things. To be honest, they are actually quite similar in size to my first gargantuan Nokia.
I want to reconnect to the strangers in my living room. I am used to the open mouths squawking for food at 6.30pm but I have no idea what these people actually do during the day. By removing the devices, perhaps I might find out what year Milla is in school, and what my husband does for a job? They might even ask me what I do!
I am guessing at the moment that they think I live my life trying to come up with ways to ruin theirs.
Might ring some truth.
The rules for this Dry July: no alcohol, no devices, phones are for calls or texts only, one day a week family movie night, computer only to be used for homework or to read the news.
We have already had day one. Is it too early to quit?