On Christmas Morning
A tale of Placing the Digital Realm at Christmas
You wake up. It’s Christmas morning. You yawn and stretch. You look out of the window. Frosty, but no snow. You feel the tiny tug of your smartphone and then you remember – this year you left it downstairs, switched off, fully charged by now. It’s in the back room, along with your spare battery.
You turn to your partner who is still asleep. You plant a gentle kiss on her cheek; she moves but doesn’t wake up.
You get up, go to the bathroom, then head downstairs. You switch on the Christmas lights; the presents are under the tree, just where you left them the previous night. It’s time to make some Christmas blend coffee. You feel the tug again, a little more insistent from that device plugged in, in the back room. The coffee smells wonderful as you open the vacuum pack, breathe in deeply through your nose, and switch on the coffee maker.
You’ve been aware of that pull for a while now. It is one of the reasons you decided, suddenly on Christmas Eve near midnight, to place your device in the back room, lights off, then off to bed. Normally you sleep with it on your bed side table, on standby. It is a cool alarm clock with virtual Tibetan gongs. Often it is the last thing you check at night, even after wishing your partner good night. Friends and even work colleagues get an X or a “Like” even after you have kissed Ellen and wished her happy dreams.
Not this time. It isn’t a denial of the digital, you think, it’s an affirmation of the physical. You’re not usually a fan of Christmas coffee but the hint of nutmeg is suddenly just a bit marvelous.
“It isn’t a denial of the digital. It’s an affirmation of the physical.” You feel the temptation to go and post that little gem on Facebook right away, and that leads to the urge to check in and see who has wished you happy Christmas. There will be Twitter messages. Oh, and emails too… Happy Christmas.
But this year, something inside you wants to hear those two words first from just one other person in the world. And that is the same person you want to be the first to hear them from you. Again the insistent pull. Again you turn away from it – gently now. Gently.
You can hear famiiiar ceiling creaks; you know she is awake. That’s her ninety-second stretch. Coffees on a tray and two little chocolate stars in silver paper, you climb the stairs and deliver Christmas morning coffee to your goddess.
When did I last think of her as a goddess?
You share coffee in bed and nibble together at your chocolate stars. Presents are waiting to be opened under the tree. You’re excited because you want to see her face when she unravels an IPad Air wrapped in an amethyst chain.
Again the pull, stronger this time – the call of the digital realm – a reminder that you might be slipping out of touch.
In the moment of that thought, you feel a different kind of touch, one you haven’t felt for a while – too long, you realise. Ellen is looking at you.
Your attention turns fully to that gesture; falling into it, like a willing dive from a waterfall.
Nearly an hour later, you both get up and head down to Presentville.
When presents are done and breakfast has been enjoyed, eaten slower this year, with more talk, you make a decision and there’s a feeling of strength behind it.
Yes, now it is. Now is the time of my choosing.
You open the door to the back room. Excited. Greetings await from near and far. A chosen time and a place for your Digital Christmas – warm wishes, cutting humour, smileworthy pictures, an Amazon Voucher and a Skype with Nan. Then out and about in the Fresh December chill to see friends before the feast begins.
Buy Paul’s new book, Digital Inferno, here. it’s an ideal Christmas gift for someone who’d like to be more in control of their digital living and working