“Trivia, of course, but, as we know, there is no lack of sustenance in whipped cream.” Waldo Lydecker

clifton webb waldo lydecker lauraNow, as you know, I was sans technology for a few days. Apparently, at one of those big metal telephone exchange boxes bolted to a street corner about two blocks from the house someone had flicked off a connection and we were sent back in time. No computer, no television, no home phone (which nobody calls anymore, but…), no digital deluge — just quiet.

Silence might be golden but it began to feel like iron pyrite, despite the air of relaxation that entered the house. It wasn’t long (a few minutes!) before I started to feel cut off; I wondered, are we masters of our technology or is it master of us? Or, do we get habituated, almost addicted, to instant interconnectivity?

I can tell you this, I went to bed irritated, frustrated that all the voice prompts and all the rebooting efforts came to naught. But when I woke, it was to a feeling of well being. Everything that lay ahead that day would take place non-digitally, in real time, in real life. The boundaries, contours, and rhythms of day felt solid, unhurried, familiar. More resonant. More observed and experienced.

So instead of skittering through time, skimming through information, surfing social media, I stopped. And it felt fine. I will certainly do it more often. Or, perhaps I’ll work a little harder to find the balance between the instant and the considered.

Not that I’ll take my laptop into the bath, but I will be looking for more sustenance and less whipped cream.


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  1. October 10, 2014

    Good question. Are we the masters of technology or does it master us? i made the decision to take the facebook app off of my iphone due to an article I read on HuffPo, deriding the new app fb was pushing mobile phone users to sign up for. It has been freeing not to have that on my phone and only having fb on my laptop.

    • October 11, 2014

      I have a friend who won’t do anything online, nothing social, no purchasing—something about keeping her information private, but I think it’s too late for that. Let’s just hope the robot brains that comb through the ever expanding human data base are benevolent 😉 !

  2. October 10, 2014

    On my recent visit to Cairns, I was almost totally isolated from media and connectivity. It was fine, temporarily, anyway. But glad you are online again.

    • October 11, 2014

      Oh, this is a tangent, but I read a book I think you might LOVE while unconnected; “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. I don’t say this often, but it is exquisitely written.

  3. October 11, 2014

    The scenario you just described is why I’m so excited that my mom is giving me her Victrola. So even during a power outage I can still listen to Glenn Miller and Al Bowlly! 😎

    • October 11, 2014

      Wait, the old wind-up Victrolas, do they play albums or cylinders?

      • Heather in Arles
        October 12, 2014

        It depends the year and the model if I may jump in.
        And I will add – if my Honey and I head to the far Luberon for a break it is also specifically because there is no network there… does a body good…

  4. October 11, 2014

    Last spring, my husband and I went on a weekend trip and I forgot my phone at home. I was panicked at first – what if I can’t read my 500 emails? The world will end! However, it was a glorious weekend and, when I got home, I started removing apps from my phone, including Facebook.

    I like how you wrote this post. It’s lovely.

    • October 11, 2014

      It was kind of lovely being unplugged, but I have to admit, I do like being able to respond to comments and catch my email.

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