On Saturday I unplugged. Disconnected myself from the wall outlet and all things wireless. No internet or e-mail, no Facebook or Twitter, no texting or blogging. My laptop case zipped its mouth shut. No television or iPod. I was going Amish. Not really. At my pastor’s recommendation I entered a 24-hour technology fast, a 1-day abstinence from gadgetry and hyper-connection. Following are some of my notes from the day:
I’m actually writing this with a #2 pencil on lined paper. Yo dog, I’m goin’ old school. Actually I feel caveman-esque. I sense the urge to make fire and etch drawings of a wooly mammoth hunt on the dining room wall. My wife says no.
In the early stages of this tech-diet I feel a sense of freedom—freedom from checking and checking in and re-checking in; freedom from responding to the responses of my original response. I feel the liberation experienced from clipping the leash, cutting the electric umbilical cord which is really more like a bungee cord in that any distance I create from my laptop and smart phone is short-lived and in a moment I will be yanked back to the bridge. I am a great fish with a hook in its mouth and technology is just playing me.
There is also an exhilaration in the fast as if I’m doing something new and daring. I am Lewis & Clark entering uncharted territory, the wild untamed land west of Verizon and Sprint, a place uninhabited by the white man and Steve Jobs, a barren wilderness where no Apple or Blackberry can grow.
There is also a slight uneasiness, a slight anxiety which is always the case in addiction withdrawals I am told. What am I missing? What cans of e-spam are sitting unopened on my shelf? What Groupon offer for micro-derm abrasion facials am I missing? How do I know what’s happening in Egypt? Surely there has been one more scientifically proven weight-loss breakthrough involving the use of acai berries since last night!
What about Facebook friends who depend on me for their daily feedings of witty lines and clever observations? I feel like a terrible cardinal mother who is not bringing food back to the nest. Without a single status update, blog post, or Twitter tweet in a 24-hour period will my friends and followers not think I’m seriously ill, kidnapped, dead, or worse…finally out of material? If someone tweets in a forest and no one hears it does it really exist?
Someone should come up with a Facebook medi-alert bracelet, so that if you fall down the steps and break your spine or your iPad, with just the press of a button all 1,427 people in your social network can immediately be notified not to worry and given the address where to drop off the casseroles.
My wife has her Dell Inspiron on her lap and the rapid tapping of the keys is weakening me. Many years ago during an actual food fast a fender bender accident (not my fault) had me standing outside my car in front of a barbecue joint that was intentionally sending out adulterous aromas into my air. I think I may have drooled on the officer’s clipboard (not my fault). Right now I’m craving a rib plate with a side-order of YouTube.
She continues to type and click her mouse. This is like drinking in front of an alcoholic or lighting up a Winston in front of a smoker on their first day of a Nicorette diet. I forgive her. I should send her an e-mail and tell her so.
Actually I’m doing pretty well. I only have 22 hours and 17 minutes to go…according to this archaic thing on my wrist called a watch. Not that I’m counting or anything. 16 minutes…