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.
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