I recently had a new experience. For 10 days I unplugged. I locked my cell phone in a hotel safe, left my laptop languishing on my kitchen countertop and I enjoyed 10 days with my family without worrying about tweets or status updates or text messages or voicemails or emails. Two amazing things happened during this time: 1) I survived 2) I lived in the moment, enjoying things as they happened without worrying about who knew about it or what they thought of it. Put differently, I found out that when a tree falls in the woods and no one posts it on facebook or twitter, it still makes a noise.
About 2 weeks ago, maybe more (I’ve lost track), I deactivated my facebook account. (pause for dramatic gasp) The action spurred several concerned inquiries from friends and family members. People wondered where I had gone, was everything OK, WHY did I DO it?? If I needed any further proof that it was a genius move on my part, the week and a half I just spent with my family was all the confirmation I needed. Not only that, BUT…I also just banned television from my house during the week. (insert jaw drop here) For 2 days we’ve gotten ready for school without the Today show telling us about serial killers and nuclear disasters. We listened to some classic rock today, AC/DC, Joan Jett and The Who ushered my kids out the door to school today. There was no rushing, no yelling, no chaos. Could it be that I have found the key to a calmer life for my family?
I’m not one to blame technology for the ills of society. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the theory that user error is almost always the problem. In this case, what I have to offer up, and the reason I deactivated my facebook account in the first place, is that I think all this electronic communication is contributing to a breakdown in our society. I think that not hearing people’s voices, not using our own voices and limiting our emotional contact with others to the use of emoticons has dulled our senses. I want to be back in the real world. I feel like Neo in The Matrix. I unplugged from the machine and I don’t want to go back to being tethered that way again. It feels revolutionary to say it out loud. I half expect some kind of retribution from the Tech Gods for the blasphemy I have uttered.
Come and get me.
(you can’t see this but I’m striking the Carrie Ann Moss ass-kicking pose)