Monday, February 28, 2011

Technology Is a Mom's Best Friend

This may not seem directly related to motherhood, but last night I watched the Academy Awards. If I didn’t have a small child, I might have been watching at a friend’s house, or we might have invited some friends to watch at our house. But rather than pay a babysitter (and also because my husband doesn’t actually care about awards shows), I sat in the basement at my computer with the TV on and discussed the show with friends across the world.

Yes, literally across the world. I posted comments on Facebook, where I exchanged remarks with friends down the street, across the country, over the border to the north, and across the Atlantic Ocean. I posted comments on a message board I frequent that has members not only all over North America, but in England, Australia, Switzerland, and other countries all over the world. Due to the magic of technology, they were all able to watch the show at the same time as I was watching it. It was like being part of an Oscar party made up of some of the funniest people on earth. (I’m thinking of nominating a few of them as hosts for next year’s awards show.)

We began the festivities even before the actual awards show, of course, with a critique of the red carpet: the gowns, the interviews, the interviewers…which actresses were aging gracefully (Annette Bening and Helen Mirren), who should fire her hairdresser (Scarlett Johannsen), which celebrities have the cutest moms (Anne Hathaway and Russell Brand, of all people), whose beard looked like a defunct beaver (Christian Bale), which young celebrities dressed most age-appropriately (Hailee Steinfeld – cute as a button!!), who was most in danger of a wardrobe malfunction (Mila Kunis and Jennifer Hudson), how disappointed we were that Helena Bonham Carter looked vaguely normal (and wore matching shoes), and what on earth Cate Blanchett must have done to piss off her stylist so badly.

And then we got into the comments on the show itself. The first question, of course, was what kind of drugs James Franco was on that made him so unable to look at the correct camera. And the second was, did Anne Hathaway really just make her first costume (and hairstyle) change only ten minutes into the ceremony and also how much does that dress WEIGH??? Over the course of the evening, we found ourselves explaining to each other who Banksy was (the joke still wasn’t funny after we understood), sharing the information that Trevor Reznor was in the rock group Nine Inch Nails, expressing astonishment that Christian Bale totally blanked on HIS OWN WIFE’S NAME, agreeing that not many of us could ever bring ourselves to watch the movie “127 Days”, and cheering on Colin Firth for giving the most humble and charming acceptance speech of the evening.

By the time the show was over, I felt like I had spent the evening with good friends who enjoyed sharing opinions and making each other laugh. And in fact, I had, even though many of those friends I have never even met. Such is the amazing power of technology.

As a stay-at-home mom, that technology keeps me connected to the world in a way I never could have been twenty or thirty years ago. I have a cell phone, Facebook, e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and message boards to put me in contact with other human beings. My mom had…the phone. And if the friend she was calling was out shopping or in the backyard, she was out of luck. There was no voicemail, no answering machines. She just waited and called back later. If I call a friend and she’s out shopping or in the backyard, she has her cell phone with her anyway. And if she doesn’t answer for some bizarre reason, I can leave her a voice mail or send her a quick text. I can always connect to someone, somehow.

There are certainly times when technology can be annoying, when people constantly yapping on their cell phones or teenagers clicking away texting in the middle of a restaurant drives me absolutely bonkers. But for the most part, I appreciate how it keeps me in the loop. After all, without technology, how would I be writing this for you right now?

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