Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not Gonna Reach My Telephone

My iPhone bit the dust.

I've had it since December 2008, which makes it a dinosaur in Technology Years (which are much shorter, even, than Dog Years). Today, it slid off my bed & turned off upon impact with the floor. Despite my prodding, pushing & pleading, it remained dark, taunting me with my inability to tweet or to track the next bus or to text a particular boy or even to tell the damn time. I spent a full afternoon without it, a bit panicky, even while sitting through a movie. (During that time, I also spilled an entire McDonald's frappe in my purse, but that's a story for another day, about me getting my comeuppance for being the jerk who sneaks outside food into the theatre.)

When I got home, I plugged my phone in again & literally begged - out loud, as if there are special techno-gods listening for such pleas from above - for my phone to turn back on. And you know what? It did. So I called my grandmother. And then I checked my work email & tweeted a bit & browsed Facebook & GChatted with a friend & watched Firefly on Netflix & Skyped with my mom & am now blogging about it all.

Truth be told, I'm ashamed of how panicky I become when my technology doesn't work. For a self-professed misser of the days when things were simpler, I sure am dependent on my toys. But do you ever stop & remember how we functioned as kids, calling our friends' landlines to play & then spending entire days at the swimming pool with no contact with anyone but the people we were with? And remember how we functioned in high school, waiting for boys to call our landlines & spending nights out on the town with no contact with anyone but the girlfriends we were with? Appreciating the people in front of us, the situations we were in, the lives we led.

Technology has done amazing things for us, & I love it, but it's also stressing me the hell out. I don't want to be this connected all the time. I want to read books & walk dogs (I don't have a dog) & ride bikes (my tires are flat) & blah, blah, blah. Of course, I'm not the first person to write this blog post, nor am I the most eloquent. In fact, columnist Bob Herbert said it much better than this in a recent New York Times op-ed titled "Tweet Less, Kiss More." In it, he challenges us: "We need to reduce the speed limits of our lives. We need to savor the trip. Leave the cellphone at home every once in awhile. Try kissing more and tweeting less. And stop talking so much. Listen." And would that I could kiss more, but dude's got a point about the whole connectivity thing, right?

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled my phone's not actually broken. But in light of my afternoon of radio silence, I had to ask myself: Was it so terrible to spend a full five hours disconnected? Did I miss anything essential? Did the world crumble & implode while I couldn't send 140-character updates to 1,447 strangers or look through my college classmates' wedding photos? Admittedly & overwhelmingly, the answer is no. This afternoon was a little reminder that it's OK to enjoy life free of the tether I've allowed technology to impose upon me.

Life was easier when Apple & Blackberry were just fruits.

11 comments:

Citygalwrites said...

I recently got a Blackberry and now I'm addicted. I thought about going back to my old, standard phone because it's cheaper and really, do I need to check me e-mail when I'm out at happy hour?! Truth be told though, it's the way of the world today. Much like landlines are obsolete, soon, everyone will have a smart phone. Guess it's up to ourselves to how much we let it control our lives!

Kali said...

I'm sure you saw my tweets about thinking my Mac was going to die. And I freak out every time my iPhone won't turn on or do something immediately. It's sad how addicted we are to this stuff, but I guess I'd rather be checking tweets and facebook on my phone constantly than being addicted to something like drugs.

phampants said...

Oh, I know the feeling. I feel so naked without my phone for 2.5 hrs when I was kayaking on the Potomac. I love technology, but unplugging myself (even just the thought) is scary. Sometimes I could bare myself and go away for awhile. Most of the time, sadly, I rely on it too much. Is there such thing as a balance?

Delilah Darling said...

I completely panic when my iPhone stops working, which hasn't happened in a while thankfully. I should really try to see how long I can go with it turned off. Five minutes maybe? That's sad.

-Delilah

justatitch said...

I hate myself for being so tied to my iPhone. My new job hasn't helped, as now I get work email on my phone. UGH. I keep thinking about trying a sort of "detox" time from it...alas, it's SO HARD. Maybe sometime soon I'll be able to leave it alone for a bit.

B. said...

This is crazy...I was just writing a post about this, as well! Mine is more a lesson learned situation. It's so very true though. Sometimes we need to really just stop with the tweeting, texting, emailing, FB-ing, BBM-ing, etc. and just enjoy the actual moment we are in. But I am happy to hear your phone is working again though because it does feel awkward without it when we have become so dependent upon it. Plus, who really wants to go through the process of buying a new phone? And I love that last line!

Scarlett said...

Lack of technology definitely makes playing hard to get a little bit....well...harder. Waiting by the phone...checking the answering machine. Detox is always good.

terra said...

I've only had my blackberry since September and I don't remember how I functioned without it for so long. It's my lifeline to everything.

Dan said...

Here is a crazy idea, actually turn your phone off for a day. I do every Friday night through Saturday night, my phone, whether it is off or on (technically its always on when sitting in its little dock)it does not get touched. It doesn't matter if I get a text, email or phone call, nothing is more important than those 25 blissful hours I spend free from technology, where instead of connecting to the world around me, I connect to The One Above. It sounds trite, but it works for me.

graceelena said...

It's really nice to take technology breaks. That is usually why I do comment drive-bys. I end up catching up on peoples posts 8 at a time. Sometimes I get to it daily but life gets in the way and I love it. I love when I realize I have spent days without spending more than 30 minutes on the computer but then there are other times when I spend hours upon hours. I need a balance!

skinny_dip said...

My Iphone is practically tied to my hand most of the time but, lately I've actually been making a point of leaving it at home or turning it off every now and then...it actually feels kind of refreshing to be unplugged, even if its only for a few hours.

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