Putting technology in its place

February 25, 2012

M and I went out to do errands the other day and I forgot my phone at home. As he drove down Bascom Avenue, me in the passenger seat, I found myself reaching for my phone to … to do what?

That’s the question. To do what?

It’s not that I have to check my email for business reasons; I have none.

I wasn’t expecting an important message.

So why did I have these little urges to check my phone?

They felt almost exactly the same as the little urges to reach for a cigarette after I quit.

It’s about habit. Maybe even a form of addiction.

Instead of being in the moment–a beautiful day, a conversation with my husband, getting into music on the radio–I thought I needed to distract myself with…nothing.

It was disturbing.

Have you ever had lunch with a friend who hears a text ping in and just has to check it, even though there could be nothing that pressing going on? Or done that to someone?

Have you ever spent hours in front of Facebook doing…nothing? Just being a voyeur? I have. Or checked email compulsively, even though the most interesting thing you saw was a coupon from Best Buy?

Technology’s brought with it many blessings, but that kind of hyper-connection also distances us from what’s going on in the physical and human world around us.

I’ve decided to put technology in its place.

Now, if M. has his phone (for work and emergencies), I leave mine at home. I no longer allow Facebook to be a time suck that takes me away from the company of people (and dogs) I love. Or away from a book. Finally, three years after I quit working full time, I realize that email does not have to drive my life. I look at it a few times a day.

The other night we went to a party in our neighborhood. It was two doors down, so I left my phone at home. When friends there invited us to join them for cocktails in a few days, I had the urge to send myself an email reminder. But oops! I didn’t have my phone. So wonder of wonders, I used my (aging) memory.

Maybe, like other muscles, exercising it more often will strengthen it.

Yes, technology has its place.

And sometimes, even in the 21st century, that place is to the side.

4 comments on “Putting technology in its place
  1. A off your facebook junkie..

    Love the posts and just became a follower…

    Follow me at http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com/

    and at twitter


    Great to meet..

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yipes, this is me to a “T”.

  3. Sarah, send me an email and i’ll respond, I can’t email you as your comment doesn’t have a contact. Thanks.

  4. If I post my email address, which is the only way to get it to you, I’ll get a lot of spam. If you comment, I won’t post it and you can put your email address in it and I’ll emal you that way.

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