Monday, March 04, 2019


Shattered, for now
London, ON
March 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We've had this puzzle on our kitchen table for the past few weeks. The inconvenience factor at mealtime is off the charts, as we're left with half as much surface area to eat just as much food.

But I'm not complaining. In fact, I welcome it, because there's something comforting about this chaotic-looking assembly of somewhat-matched-up pieces of cardboard. In our typically tech-infused household where each of us has a smartphone, smart speakers have sprouted in a few common areas, an app ensures our dog gets enough exercise, and a connected doorbell lets me freak out the UPS delivery guy from half a continent away, it's a bit of a revelation to gather around something that doesn't need to be charged, doesn't crash, and isn't online.

Somewhere along the way toward our geeky future, we seemingly forgot what it felt like to just be, to not be bathed in the blue-ish light, to not be zombified by an endless scroll of memes and hilariously inaccurately-served ads. And plopping an unassuming 1,000-piece puzzle into the middle of our kitchen has served as a timely reminder of why a little more technological disconnectedness can do wonders for our human connectedness.

It's been a bit of a marathon getting the puzzle done. We return to it in spontaneous waves, gathering around the table when we have a few extra minutes. We chat idly as we share the experience. Or, sometimes, we go at it alone. There's no plan. No rigidity. We just as often work on it in silence, our hands and our eyes dancing over the jumbled cardboard pieces, trying to make sense of the low-tech chaos.

Part of me looks forward to finishing it, but a bigger part of me will miss it. As I tap this out on my glowing smartphone, I wonder what we're doing to ourselves now that our every waking moment is governed by an electronic device. It may sound like heresy coming from me, but I often wish we could simply unplug.

I see another puzzle in our near future. Or maybe more than one.

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