I had a baby and I found in the first few weeks of her life, the things I couldn’t get done online didn’t get done (sorry hair). My early days as a parent were spent sleeping, trying to sleep or wishing I was sleeping. And somewhere in between managing a butt that was not my own and kicking my cat to the curb, I was able to get a ton of stuff done online.

My concern with the fact that I didn’t leave the house for three weeks after delivering a baby isn’t because it’s totally nuts, it’s because I didn’t have to. Because our culture is being changed in a way that allows for a serious lack of face time (NOT Face Time). Sure, face to face convos can be boring, painfully awkward, and a total time waster but they’re necessary, right? They are critical to our social skills at worst, and community building at best.

I am not proud to admit that I used Amazon Prime to purchase an array of items, such as a Bumbo (I know, WTF), a humidifier, teething rings, clothes, bibs, baby oil and a rocking chair. In a matter of two days I could have whatever my baby needed and that felt good, like how going to sleep and never waking up again might feel good. I managed to be productive at the end of days that were anything but. I also signed up for Amazon Fresh and Amazon Subscribe and Save.

Whenever my baby’s turds were a disconcerting shade of disgusting, I looked to Google: “baby poop greenish mustard.” Med-Oogling as I like to call it (not really) can take you in some terrifying directions but it can also be a huge help when it comes to basic health questions/concerns. It certainly saved me a few trips to the doc.

I was able to upload pictures of my new baby human to Walgreen’s which were then printed and sent directly to the Gramps and Grannies who lack the wherewithal to view images digitally. Done. Family is satisfied. Time is bottled and conserved.

As a closeted introvert I find myself retreating behind the mask of technology more and more. When I get a call on my phone I shudder a little. Not only is texting easier, it’s more comfortable. Making plans no longer requires pants and communicating can be done without even so much as having to get off the toilet.

I keep thinking about this Kurt Vonnegut quote, “We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.” I couldn’t agree more. I LOVE farting around. My problem with Amazon and/or online shopping has nothing to do with “local” being the hippest word I know. It’s because our offline shops give us something to DO. Grocery stores, cafes, doctors offices, bookstores, they give us a destination. A place to converse with each other! Sure, the internet saves us an unspeakable amount of time and sanity, but at what cost?

But here’s the thing, in the few minutes it took the Amazon Fresh delivery driver to unload the baby wipes, Raisin Bran and lanolin cream, we had ourselves a bit of a heart-to-heart about raising kids. And it was perfectly real.

Sarah Stackhouse was GeekWire’s chief wrangler and Nerd Notes columnist in the early days of the site. She has worked at tech companies including Picnik and Google.

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  • PH

    There’s something very hostile to other humans in your account that leaves my stomach lurching with a cold, cold shudder. I don’t understand why anything you describe is a good thing.

    • http://twitter.com/rosiepineapple Sarah Stackhouse

      Thanks for your comment!! It highlights another interesting problem with communicating online; the fact that not everyone knows when someone is joking. Not sure exactly where I come off as “hostile” but I am anything but. This piece is written to make people chuckle a little while they think about how online shopping impacts themselves and their communities. Sorry to make you chilly on an already cold day :(

      • ross lampky

        Face Time conversations are important, but at the same time its a balancing act as they can take over your time when other things need to take precident.

        As a parent of two I remember the initial weeks or months and would have liked to be sheltered in place to return to the world when ready, but as they grow the need for face time increased to vent the frustrations of raising teenagers so we know we are not alone in this world.

        It was an enjoyable read this disertation of yours, somewhat tounge in cheek, somewhat a wake up call to how easy it would be to only see the postal employee and the ups driver for lengths of time if that was what you chose.

        But too much and the world will move on by you and call the mental health professional to get you out on your feet, assuming that your not keeping everyone up to date on twitter or facebook..

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