The Red Dress Club: Gluttony

I rub my eyes and adjust my glasses, arch my back and tuck my legs beneath me. The smooth wood, hard and uncomfortable, is a reminder of how long I’ve been sitting.

My eyes search and scan. My fingers type and click. My screen glows and brightens.

Jason slides into the seat next to me, leans back, and stretches his long legs underneath the table. He crosses one ankle over the other and asks, Anything new since the last time you checked?

His voice is playful.

I barely glance up.

My fingers type furiously, with a purpose. I have a rhythm, a plan, a way. Blogs. Tweets. Comments. Facebook. Writing. Slide, point, click, read, type, repeat.

You’ve been on there a lot today, he nudges. His eyes and voice mirror each other. Kind. Poignant.

I glance out the window. Notice the gray sky filling above. Get drawn into the raindrops sliding along the kitchen window. The storm mocks the calendar. It’s mid-May and I long for sunshine.

My children are immersed in play beside me. Play doh, coloring, singing, banging. I hardly hear, scarcely notice.

I’m lost in my screen.

And if I’m completely honest with myself, I’m annoyed by the noise around me.

It grates, pulls me out of my trance. As their voices rise, crazy with the rain, my presence lowers, impatient with my family.

Seemingly just moments later, I’m still downstairs. Reading. Pointing. Clicking. In the background, my family happens. Jason is wrapping up our evening upstairs.

Water splashes, giggles burst.

The low lilt of Jason’s voice followed by the high tones of my three children fill my ears. Their voices are no longer a grate, but rather an invitation.

I refresh each screen just one more time. In case there’s something new, something missed, something that I need to know. And only then, I make my way upstairs.

Leaning against the bathroom doorway, I breath them in.

Smiles wide.

Bubble beards tickly.

Energy heightened.

Jason helps each of my heartstrings out of the bath. Kayli takes a hand. Chloe takes two. Brody is lifted.

He wraps them up tight and sends them to me. They trickle their way over.

Chloe’s eyes shine as she jumps into my arms, drenching me thoroughly.

Kayli’s hair drips onto my chest as she squeezes me close, reminding me to be here.

And Brody seals the deal as he looks up at me. Wet hair, glistening eyes. I want you to carry me.

I’m present again.

I snuggle and read and sing and repeatedly tuck-in. My heart is full, my mind is clear, and my back no longer aches.

But afterwards, when the night is quiet, I head back downstairs. My eyes are bleary and sleep calls, but I settle in for hours of just one more click, just one more refresh, unable to stay away.

Red Writing Hood is a writing meme. This week’s assignment was to write about gluttony. Constructive criticism is welcome.

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Comments

  1. Oooh I love your take on this. I also love how you describe your children as your ‘heartstrings’. One of your best pieces, Galit.

  2. yep, the women of cyberspace have mesmerized me. I can’t stay away either. …..

    this was so perfect in so many ways, it explained how I feel all the time about the hundred directions I am being pulled in.

    WOW.

  3. Oh my gosh this could not be more “me.” So perfect Galit.

  4. Ummm, WOW! Have you been watching me?

    Scarily real. The constant refreshing? Will drive a woman mad.

    And how disappointing when there isn’t something new to see. The sinking feeling. And then, sh!t, I should have been in bed hours ago.

    Loved where you took this, babe. You are cleverness personified. xxx

  5. You definitely captured it! It’s hard to make that break! I have a self-imposed rule to shut down between 3 and 4 everyday. Temptation is always there, but I’ve found it waits until morning.

  6. I knew Twitter was a vice – I just wasn’t sure which one.

  7. I know this feeling! I’m forever reminding myself to stay in the moment with my son. I love the line about bleary eyes.

    Well done, as always.

  8. Ummm…. I think this is most of us :) Great post!

  9. You never disappoint, do you? My favorite line? “In the background, my family happens.” I think we all can relate to that at times. Beautiful job on this. <3

  10. oh, you’re so going to hit a nerve for so many people today. it does for me. even when i’m aware of it, sometimes it’s so hard to walk away from the laptop. but when I do, eventually, shut it down, it’s so worth it.

  11. This is perfectly written. How well do I know this pull.
    I have had to sperate myself.
    My computer has to stay away until my daughter goes to bed.
    But?
    I have a phone with complete access to everything.
    I can’t control that piece.
    Reality checks like baby giggles, the sound of mama, and squeals of delight pull me away and make me realize I’m missing out on life.
    Lovely post! So very true.

  12. I totally relate to this! It is so hard to stay away from the glow of the screen. I am struggling with keeping the balance.

  13. Yes, this is definitely something most of us can relate to – the very fact were are here reading your blog, trying to write ourselves – always there is something else we could be doing.

    I fight the magnetic pull always. The internet is my link to so many, my social life.

    During the day I must declare “no blog or Twitter” so I can be in the moment – a challenge if a post dances in my head. But if it is done, I am free.

    The battle of the draw, the need to write. Versus my family.

    Still working on the perfect balance.

    This line shows the pull perfectly: “I refresh each screen just one more time. In case there’s something new, something missed, something that I need to know. And only then, I make my way upstairs.”

    I think I was up until 2:30 last night. So this: “My eyes are bleary and sleep calls, but I settle in for hours of just one more click, just one more refresh, unable to stay away.” really speaks to me.

    I was mostly writing and editing this time – the time to do so given up for my kids earlier in the day.

  14. Oh my goodness! Can anyone NOT relate to this??? Great stuff!

  15. So true. Just one more. I loved your interpretation of gluttony – it could not have rang more true for me as well. Hello my name is Sara and I am addicted to my blog, twitter, facebok, reader, ….. 😉

  16. My husband would say that this post is a good description of MY behavior but I’m not that bad :)

    Lovely

  17. I’m sure that I have already said this in previous comments, but I’m going to say it again. Your unflinching honesty and emotional self awareness is so stunning that it is stark. Sometimes I feel guilty reading your posts, as if I shouldn’t know this much about anyone else. What I thought was so lovely about today, was the mental fading in and out, the sensation of you trying to flip between two channels and the frustration of not being able to simultaneously keep both in tune.

    This line in particular stood out, ‘As their voices rise, crazy with the rain, my presence lowers, impatient with my family” because this read both as a physical reality, you disappearing into the screen and an emotional one of the constant battle between writer and mother.

  18. I know the feeling all too well. The push. The pull. The wanting to be left alone, but also the wanting not to miss family moments.

    Sigh.

    The only problem? This is not gluttony. It’s a lovely post, full of raw truths, but not gluttony. :)

    • If gluttony is only seen as having to do with food, then you are right. But one of the things that I explored in my post this week is how one’s cultural/religious upbringing can change the way one understands this particular word. Is is possible to apply the drive to overindulge to something other than food?

    • Aak! You both know what a rule follower I am and how much I hate being -ahem- wrong! I might have taken my interpretation too far out of the box on this one. Love me anyway, mmkay? XO

  19. OH – just gorgeous writing – such a gift. such a curse? so many amazing writers, so many wonderful people to relate to, laugh with, comment on – so many amazing people that you never knew existed beyond the small world of T-ball and Toys-R-Us.

    I love your writing – it NEVER lets me down.

  20. I love how you understood “gluttony” in a way that differs from the normative application of the word. I also appreciate the sheer honesty of being annoyed when our passion is interrupted by real life.

    Much of what you wrote resonated, but this one snippet tugged at me:
    “Jason helps each of my heartstrings out of the bath….”

    xo

  21. If it is not gluttony, why do I feel so guilty about how clearly you describe my excessive intake of all things blog related?!

  22. LOL! Ben says to me, “you’re in ‘the zone’ again.” I totally fall into that place. “Just one more minute.” I’d call back. But he knows that means fifteen. Or more.
    Thank goodness for those beautiful babies in our lives to draw us back to the world around us. I love the “Bubble beards tickly.” Made me giggle. I could see their smiles:)
    Tiny typo? “His is voice playful.”

  23. I think it depends on which dictionary you are looking at. It needs a more modern definition, anyway. I think you summed this up well. I know I was reading about myself and wondering what you were doing looking in my windows at night, LOL. Especially the annoyance. Guilty!!

  24. Loved it! One question – Are you watching me? Too often this is how I spend my evenings and my kids are great at breaking me of the habit. :)

  25. This hits all too close to home. But still? It’s really comforting to know I’m not alone…and that others get the same comforts I do from my computer screen. Sigh. Just wish my husband understood it more…

    xoxo

  26. Ah, this is me too. And the hubby gets a bit cranky about it. Not gluttony, but still a great post.

  27. I very seriously considered writing about blogging and reading blogs for this prompt as well. I ended up not having time to write this one at all (trying to get ready to move home for the summer).

    Well done. I almost think you could have gone a little stronger with the feeling of needing to click one more time, needing to see the next blog, the next page, the next response.

    Loved that you went back to it at the end. A true glutton.

  28. Oh. My. I get it, I get it! Guilty. So many times I have needed to be living, instead of surfing. I never thought in this direction – but so spot on!

    ::walking to go hang out with family:: .. maybe after just one more ….

  29. What a fantastic take on the prompt! I think we all recognize ourselves a bit in this. Now when I’m pushing my limits on my iPhone time, I’ll remember one word: gluttony. Thanks for the extra push to be present for my girl.

  30. This is absolutely my type of gluttony. Hard to get away from the screen.

  31. So can relate.

    Favorite line: “I’m present again.” The conflict of the blogger – being present for family vs. being present in the blogging world. Both are important but can work against each other. Still trying to find that balance – I believe you can be fully present in both worlds.

    So nicely done. As usual. :-))

  32. So amazing! I feel the same way! I so love how you put it “helped each of my heartstrings”! I could just see the contentment as you stood against the doorway!

  33. Wow!! This is an amazing piece of work!! I think we can all relate! Thanks for sharing this!

  34. Oh how I wish I could say I didn’t have this same addiction! It’s such a curse sometimes – but the biggest blessing and reward all at the same time. Damn, how that works. :-) I didn’t opt to do this prompt this time. (Blogger malfunction, work interference, blah, blah, blah.) But, I love the direction you took!

  35. You’re inside my head on this one.

    I had hoped that the hours after school – when my children have homework and reading to do – would be a respite from “work” for me; a time to sit at the computer and immerse myself in words; to indulge in this gluttony we share.

    Several months into the school year, however, I noticed my kids’ behavior slipping. I was frustrated when they asked questions or wanted to tell me a story. I would keep my eyes on the computer screen and half-heartedly say, “Oh really?” or “Sounds good” or simply “Huh” so they thought I was listening.

    But I wasn’t listening. They were intruding.
    (I’m not proud of these feelings, just being honest.)

    They got worse. I got worse. I had to close up shop.

    Before I pick them up from school now, I shut the computer down (or else for sure I’d be tempted to take “just one quick peek”).

    We have a snack together and I sit with them while they do homework; we read on the bed together. As long as it takes.

    Miraculously, they are better. And so, I must admit, am I. They aren’t acting up to get my attention. I’m not annoyed and snapping.

    I sometimes look longingly at the computer. It’s almost a physical desire.

    But I know my time with my children is short. In seven years (less, most likely, because they will lose interest in me) they will be gone.

    And I can gorge myself in words. Mine and others.

    Until then, I choose my computer time wisely. (And sometimes, I cheat; because we’re talking about gluttony with words; an addiction as strong as food, no?)

    So, Galit, I loved this post.

    Can you tell?

  36. Oh that is just perfect. I too have often described my blogging habit as incredibly INDULGENT. It is wonderful to have those moments to remind us that life happens off-screen. And then we can sneak away when everyone else is asleep to write about it.

  37. Yep, that’s right. You described it perfectly. And I can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing.

    Pretty sure my Mom was the same way with her “soaps”. 😉

  38. This is perfect. Sometimes I feel this way. I am both trying to be in the moment and in the screen. I am reading and clicking away. For example I come here to read your words, my friend and I like to leave a comment behind because I love your words and because this support that we have for each other is important. There is a community out there that we are a part of :)
    Xo I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

  39. It is clear from the comments that we bloggers SERIOUSLY need a 12 step program. ….uh oh, I feel a post coming on!

    Its not a proud feeling, that annoyance when life intrudes on this precious cyber time. Its sad that this hunger for a connection, feedback, stimulation only makes us hungry for more.

    While I agree that you’ve described a gorging on words, on tweets, on blogs, I almost feel that you’ve described lust and jealousy. Ugh, and now I’m thinking about mortal sin and the examination of conscience. Damn Catholic upbringing.

    But I still loved your post. You always make me think…taking me beyond just the words you’ve written. Thank you for that.

  40. Goodness dear friends! I think that one of the most fascinating things about this one is the difference in interpretation of the word gluttony!

    I used Webster’s definition of gluttony

    1: excess in eating or drinking
    2: greedy or excessive indulgence

    I clearly went with choice #2. :) I’m so loving this convo! XO

  41. yes this. absolutely. thank you for writing this one :)

  42. Clearly, many of us can relate to this post. I love the contrast that you provide between the online world and your real world. There is a marked transition between the two and sometimes that screen really has us in its grasp.

    I love the link ups that you do with the Red Dress Club. I enjoyed participating in the sand prompt. Maybe I’ll continue to follow the prompts.

  43. SO well written! And yes . . . I relate to EVERY word!

  44. Great piece!! Binging on technology — I love it!

  45. Somehow I thought I commented – but maybe just read it from twitter. No matter as I am losing my mind either way. Just wanted to let you know that your post made me pretty much stay off twitter, my puter and I did not blog for three days.

    SO THANK YOU. I enjoyed my weekend with my kids.

    Love you.
    t.

  46. I’m jealous. You take a loose, non-literal interpretation of the prompt and get a slap on the wrist. I follow it literally but loosely and get slapped in the face… so not fair… ;D

    I liked it. And as usual I have nothing but teeny tiny little nit-picky stuff that I can say… breath is a noun. Breathe is the verb form. (sigh… wish I had more for you, lol!)

    You are a fantastic writer, Galit. :)

  47. Your writing is captivating and paints pictures in my head. I loved this post, as I can relate to it perfectly.

  48. How are you? Sorry life swallowed me. I am glad to see you are writing away beautifully.

    Lol. I am the queen of refresh. It is funny because rarely is there anything new but you don’t want this one time to be the time there is.

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