3/14/2014

A Month Without Devices: A Diary

After the softball game, as I waited for my daughter to pack up her things, I took out my phone and played a game for those two minutes, because that’s what you do now. There is no dead time anymore. Waiting in line at the store? Check the news. Walking to work? Check the weather. Speaking to a friend? Check your email and calendar. Anything else happening? Play a game.

It’s become a disease, where we are more and more addicted to these things in our pockets. I can almost remember a time when I used to simply not do things instead. I’d look around. Or have a conversation with someone. Or use my imagination. Or just not do anything, because I didn’t have to. But no longer: now I feel compelled to always be doing something, where ‘something’ means looking on my phone for the next communication or the next piece of information, or just playing an addictive game.

Well it’s time to stop this madness; it’s time to reset the system, to reboot me and go back to the way it used to be when life was simpler and there wasn’t this incessant need to keep reaching in my pocket for my Machine of Wonders. Or it’s at least time to find out if I can.

As of today, I’m starting a leave of absence from my phone and all of my many devices. I hereby promise to go a month without my new best friend, and to record my experiences as they happen. In doing this, I hope to learn more about the world around me, and maybe even a little bit about myself.

Day 1
Not much to report so far, since I just woke up. I’d like to check email, but just from habit.

10 am
I feel kind of tingly, like I have this need to keep picking up the device and looking for information, yet excited by the prospect that I don’t have to!

11 am
Feeling pretty good - it’s three hours now and no smartphone. I was late for a meeting at 1030 because I didn’t get a notification, but that’s to be expected as I work into this new system. I’ll just have to remember things better, maybe write things down more.

Noon
Feeling great - this is really enabling. I don’t think I’ve had so much time to just be me since… I’d have to check my calendar for the last time I felt like this. Going out to lunch with some old friends, can’t wait to tell them about my new experiment.

1:30 pm
Lunch didn’t work out so well. I thought I knew where that restaurant was; I wonder if it moved? Or maybe not having been there in a decade worked against me. It would have been easy to check maps on my phone, but that defeats the purpose. Anyway, I didn’t find the place until they were done with lunch and heading out. No time to tell them about my Month Without Devices. I’ll send them email about it instead, when I get back to my desktop machine.
In any case, I really enjoyed walking around the town for an hour. It was like a leisurely stroll, except for the part where I knew I was late meeting friends for that whole time.

3:00
Missed another meeting, but it was a pretty boring one with HR, no big deal. But I should really try to get to the makeup meeting at 4:00.

4:30
Missed the makeup meeting, too. What the hell? Like I can’t remember things for a single hour?

6:00
Forgot to arrange a ride home with my wife; I guess I’m walking. That’s great, it’ll give me more time with my thoughts. Thoughts like, I need to remember to arrange a ride tomorrow.

7:30
Missed dinner. I guess my wife was counting on me being here earlier. Whoops! Apparently she called, texted, and emailed me, but of course I didn’t get those messages. I don’t think she took me seriously last night when I told her about my grand experiment. She doesn’t understand how important this is to me.
She’s pretty mad.

9:00
Watched a pretty good show. I couldn’t place the main actor. I know I’ve seen him in something recently. It's killing me.

10:30
No games in bed tonight: I think I’ll read a book. Man, I used to really enjoy reading books, went through like one or two a week back in the day. Then again, I don’t really have any physical books here that I haven’t read since all of my new books are electronic.
Never mind, I’ll just go to bed. Probably better for me anyway, right?

2 am
Up in the middle of the night, as usual. No games to play, though. Or books to read. I guess I'll just lie here, collecting my thoughts.


Day 2
Jesus, what a stupid idea. What was I thinking?
Screw this.
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