Last week we went through a horrifying period of deprivation and denial around our house, one that demoralized everyone under our roof. Our 17 year old son went without his computer for a whole week.
Ever since we, the parents, went halves with the Boy three years ago to purchase the device, the computer has been his baby. His games are on it, his social activities are on it, it is his primary entertainment source. He also does his homework on it (a lot of his teachers actually prefer the students to email their essays), conducted college application correspondence on it,and this year is actually taking one of his AP classes on it. Another recent project has been cataloging every Magic The Gathering card he and his father ever purchased. (Yes there is an App for that.)
The power jack however has been behaving erratically for some time now, necessitating much rearranging of the power cord to get it just right. The Boy had just finished the first semester of school, which meant there was a little leeway before he would have a pile of homework to complete again. They had a 4 day weekend for Martin Luther King Day. It was the perfect time to go to the computer hospital.
The night before he had prudently back up everything of value and deleted all his browser histories. We dropped the computer off at the repair shop and as we walked back to the car he said, "Now I know how you felt when you left me at school the first time, Mom."
He had a scout camp out Friday night, and didn't get home till late Saturday, so it wasn't until Sunday morning that full TTTDD (Traumatic Teen Tech Deprivation Disorder) kicked in. Even with 2 football games that day on TV, he had gotten out a 1000 piece puzzle his aunt gave him for Christmas and tried to assemble it.
In fairness to the Boy I should add that during the summer, when he works at the scout camp, he goes without his computer from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning. And he wasn't completely deprived of all diversions, he still had his smart phone and his PlayStation 2, not to mention a TV with lots of cable channels and a house containing thousands of books, including several hundred in his own room. The problem was, he was used to having his computer in front of him and his hands on the keyboard, and without that nothing felt right.
On Monday night he was fervently hoping there would not be a snow day the next morning. He was actually looking forward to the diversion of school.
By Tuesday he was lecturing us on the uniqueness of his deprivation. (I must add here that at this time neither the Girl or myself have laptops at all, but only Nook Pads) His "suffering" (and I use the term oh so loosely)was greater because everything he wished to do was on that laptop. He wasn't in the mood to read, nor is he a writer like his sister and myself, both of whom could keep the makers of spiral notebooks in business. Not one of the 100 + cable channels had anything worth watching.
By Wednesday he actually borrowed my pad to play games for a bit. He also took another stab at that maddening puzzle. He was even crankier with his sister than usual. By this time we all wanted his computer back.
Mercifully the long vigil ended on Thursday, when the computer store called while he was at school. The Boy came through the door carrying the laptop like a child being borne to its christening. The sun shone, the birds sang (at least the Girl's parakeet did) and balance was restored to the universe again.
Till the next time.