Thursday, July 01, 2010

Technology Sojourn

The warning went across my Twitter and Facebook feeds last night near to midnight: I would be taking a 12 hour break from technology on Wednesday. From 8 am to 8 pm, I would not use my iPhone, my laptop, or my TV. Later I added that radio and CD player in my apartment were also off limits. Thought it might be nice to share how this "journey" played out.

I guess I should start with why I would do such a silly thing. First, my iPhone had become a permanent part of my body. Seeing as how I'm not a cyborg, and I should be relaxing during the summer, I figured it was time to cut the apron strings so to speak. Also, I answered a work email from my iPhone, from my bed, when I randomly woke up at 3 am the other day. My iPhone and I needed a break.

Second, I was becoming obsessed with some stuff, and honestly I was upset about some junk that I had no real reason to be upset about. Being online was just feeding that obsession. I'll speak more on that in a bit.

Finally, I just needed to unhook for a day. My life is run by my technology instead of me running it, and that's not ok with me. No one needs to be plugged in all the time, and I really don't need to be constantly available.

So how did it turn out? I'm going to try to take some pictures in a minute to add to this (camera battery was dead and is now charging - ain't technology grand?) and hopefully share what surprised me in a way that's interesting enough that you won't want to throw away your laptop to get away from my blog. ;-)

I woke up at 7 am, so I could check Twitter, Facebook, and email (all 3 accounts including work). Went back to sleep until 8:15. Drat it to heck! 8:15 meant I couldn't make one last check!!! I went ahead and turned off my iPhone *sigh* and went back to sleep for a while longer.

First surprise of being unavailable for texts and calls was that my plans with friends for the day had to be very firm. No cancelling or being late on either end. Tracy and her daughter showed up, as planned, at 9 am swim and/or help me finish off my card table that I'd been refinishing. Since Tracy wouldn't be able to call and cancel if the weather was iffy, she had to come no matter what. She helped me put the chandelier on my table (that sounds insane, but there are pics lower down), and we went swimming. (No pics of the pool because that falls in the same category as taking pics of me before 10 am... just don't.)

No iPhone = no clock. My watch batteries are all dead, so I was constantly asking Tracy what time it was. Pool was great. I braved it with no sunscreen for an hour or so, and then the sun came out regular enough that I had to admit defeat and sunblock it up. Side note: thanks to swimming almost daily, I am TAN! I know I don't *look* tan to those of you who have seen me, but for me, I am super tan (and freckly) right now. My tummy is so pale that you can see the tan when I hold my arm next to it, but that's frowned upon in public.

I was supposed to pick Paul up at noon for us to go get our comics. Inconvenience again: my pull list for comics is on my email on my cell. Thankfully I'd printed my pulls from my spreadsheet last night before bed. (Yes, I'm that neurotic, but that's for another post at another time.) Comics went without a glitch though, and it was nice to have another human interaction.

That leads me to a side rant though. When did "our" plans become so nebulous? When did it stop being "we'll meet for coffee at 7" and become "we'll meet for coffee around 7, but I'll text when I'm close, and we may switch to drinks around 8 if you want, but we'll text around 5 to make sure"? Texting has really effected how I make plans with friends. It was really refreshing to have firm times and places that I could count on today. Not to bash plans that change because I don't mind that, but there was something soothing about knowing what was going on today.

By the way, I went to the comic shop and then took Paul (whose car is broken) to Target and stopped in Starbucks. I felt a little lost not checking in to FourSquare. In fact, I internally lamented the points I was losing during my tech-free day. How can you walk in anywhere without checking in when you're in an intense FS competition like I am?! Won't the world stop spinning? The answer is no. It will not stop spinning. In fact, since I was looking up as I walked in the store, I knew where my car was when I came out. To use a friend's celebratory word: *HUZZAH!* I give up on FourSquare this week. My points are so low I can't make a comeback.

On the drive home I almost turned out in front of someone. I wasn't texting and driving or even talking and driving. I was completely focused on the road. Surprise - cells are always to blame! Another surprise, I suddenly realized I didn't feel comfortable driving without my cell phone with me. What if I got in an accident? The only numbers I know by heart are my parents' home in Georgia, LaRae's home number, and my ex's cell phone. None of those would necessarily be the best to call in an accident for numerous reasons. Also, what if my car broke down, how would I get help? Funny how years ago we drove without cell phones, but now being without one is scary! Even more funny: my first cell was only for emergencies, and I shared it with my mom. It had 60 minutes a month!!

Got home around 1 pm, and I saw my iPhone sitting on my nightstand. It looked so sad and lonely. Actually, that's a lie. It looked happy because it was face down, and the Mickey sticker on the back was smiling at me, but I knew its true feelings of rejection. Yep, surprise, my iPhone is so phenomenal that it has its own human emotions! ;-)

OK back to the real world. I did look at my phone and want to pick it up and check what everyone was doing, but I knew I needed to stick to this "thing" and follow through. Instead I headed out to the garage to put the last clear coat on my card table top. The lawn guys were coming by with their leaf blowers of doom, so I had to close up the garage super fast to keep the table from getting ruined. As the door went down, I dove out of the garage, rolled across the driveway, and jumped to my feet. No one saw, but it was some amazing acrobatics, let me tell you.

When I came inside, I couldn't decide what to do. Sprinkles wanted to play a bit, but he fell asleep soon. I couldn't watch TV or listen to music, so that meant I was alone with my thoughts. Scary place to be at times especially in the mood I've been in for the past 3-4 days. Laid on the couch and just reflected. Cheesy, I know, but it helped me sort through some stuff that's been bugging me. It also helped me to come to terms with things that aren't in my control.

I still have 10 items on my summer to-do list. It's full of organization projects and such, and I want to get them done before I head to Georgia, but today was not the day to mess with those, so I decided to take an epic 3-4 hour nap. (Yeah, that's why it's almost 1 am, and I'm blogging instead of sleeping.) Last night I had some fairly vivid and disturbing dreams, so I didn't sleep well. In fact, I'd totally tell you about my dreams, but I couldn't get on Facebook this morning to post about them, so I forgot them. :-( Note to self: You need a real journal with paper and pen by your bed.

After my nap I ran out to the garage to check on my table. Thank you rain for holding off long enough for me to get the table in. Pic is the table with two of the newly re-covered chairs. Other pic shows dining room chairs. Now my dining room chairs and card table chairs match, so when I pull them all out, they look like they belong together. I know the table is a bit whimsical, but it's only out for fun occasions, and I like it! I don't like the clear coat, so I'll be redoing that in August when I have more time to do it right. This project took me 2+ days to fully complete.

Table done and 1.5 hours until the VBS work night at church. This was my breaking point. I was going into technology withdraw. I kept thinking that if I just checked email, Twitter, and Facebook, no one would know but me and who would it hurt. I rationalized that I had proved my point, and I could go back to the land of the living. Then I realized if I couldn't go 12 hours without my precious technology, I needed help, so I took a shower instead.

Do you know how fast I can get ready without messing with my iPod or checking junk on my iPhone??? Holy crow! I took time to blow dry my hair instead of pulling it back in the typical summertime ponytail. Good thing because the rain I walked through on the way to my movie later gave it this neat poofiness and swoopy bangs look that I was *totally* going for! (Please please sense the sarcasm.) Did my make up. Dressed cute. Whole nine yards. Took under an hour. Whoa. (Speaking of "whoa" my hand looks huge in that pic! Guess that's 1 am photography for you!)

Got to the work night early. Got "my" project done with Melissa and Tracy and was able to head to the movie early. Oh and I got it all done without distractions. Did not turn on my iPhone until we pulled up to the theater. Immediately got 14 texts, 2 voice mails, and 27 emails. I sorted through it fairly quickly, replied as needed, and tweeted and facebooked a few quick messages before LaRae, Tracy, and I headed in to see "Eclipse". (I'm not giving commentary on the movie here, but eventually I'll let my opinion be known. I will say quickly that being Team Edward in a theater full of Team Jacob left something to be desired.)

To sum up my day:
Things go faster without technology getting in the way or being a distraction.

Plans become firmer without the "out" that cell phones offer.

You have to enjoy the silence when your "stuff" is off. That means being ok with what's in your head. Sometimes the happy little text message tones and tweets drown out your own voice.

Music being off makes life quiet but not necessarily better. No more music bans for me.

The world keeps spinning when people can't get in touch with me.

Will I keep having technology-free days? Yes and no. I'm going to take time where everything is off, so I can be real with myself and reflect a bit. I'm going to make myself unavailable at times for my own sanity. I'm not ditching my computer or stopping checking in on FourSquare, but I might not tweet or facebook as much (maybe). Even if I turn off my iPhone, it will go in the car with me. It was a nice experiment, and I feel like I can do things without my iPhone glued to my hand now. I can recommend that everyone try it for a day if it's possible in your life. :)

Now if you'll excuse me my Tap Resort needs some attention, and I'm sure I'll beat Addiction Solitaire *this* time for sure!