I’m going undercover to write this. No, really, I’m under my covers, with my journal, my pen, a reading light. Why?
It’s early-early and I’m trying not to wake anyone. And my brain is writing like a freight train and I’ve got to deliver if I want to avoid a mental/emotional collision of epic-movie proportions.
I’m seriously considering breaking up with technology. Going all Walden, or Thoreau or Austen is sounding better by the day.
It’s so maddening; I cannot take my laptop at its word anymore. It says it’s going to do something, and then it doesn’t. I ask again, and it shuts down.
So, I turn to my iPhone. And we do well for a time, I accept it’s less than stereo quality to listen to my Indie Folk du jour. I am understanding when I can only type a few sentences on the tiny keyboard before I give up, hands numb from fingers down.
I count to ten when the screen freezes, again, because I know that it is I who have overloaded its’ memory and made it impossible for my iphone to be what it is created to be.
Deep breath. It’s all good, I’ll just turn on my radio. Yes, I still have one (though it’s on its way out shortly). And just like that, descending the tech ladder, I’m back in 1986 trying to adjust my transistor antennae to just get a clear sound minus fuzzy conversation on 102 grody oldies and 104.5 totally rad hits.
OFF. Off, off, off, off-OFF!
Silence. Maybe this is best. Shut down the clutter of talk, turn down (for what?!) the cacophony of playlists, and the visual scrolling parade of images far prettier and happier than I.
I seem to get here more and more as the daylight hours subtract, the weather drives us in, and the expectations of the holidays exponentially multiply.
Here at the intersection of chaotic and beautiful.
It was on one of those perfect cold, gray, trees majestic in color November fall days. Nearing the end of my walk, my iPhone battery gave up. I pulled out my ear buds, not surprised and mildly irritated, to stuff them into the pockets of my coat. All the while holding onto my black lab’s leash as he sniffed 3,000 twisty trail leads on the sidewalk.
Moments later, when I was able to untangle myself and Rudy, I noticed the leaves-wet and shiny like they were glued to the concrete as an art project. I started to collect, until I could carry no more.
Dog and I walked the block leading home, when in the middle of our cul-de-sac, he stopped me short, assuming his instinctual hunting pointer position, alert to some sound unheard to me. I followed his lead (not in hunting position) and listened.
There. There above us in the watercolor gray sky was the object of my black lab’s desire. The honking of the geese grew louder as they journeyed on their road in the sky. We watched for a moment as that V traveled out of reach.
Then, silence. This. This, here. Now, I thought. I took a deep breath, and another, taking in all that is marvelous and fleeting and nourishing about autumn.
To some degree, there is no escaping technology in my world. And it’s great, really. But it has consequences.
I am frustrated (even) more quickly when I can’t communicate immediately with someone, whenever I choose. *
I tend to feel like I’m left out, if the latest “news” in whatever arena doesn’t show up one second after I tap the link.
And in certain times, while scrolling through pins and updates, when I’m not at peace with myself, I am very vulnerable to thinking, and worse, believing that I am less than enough.
When I am forced to lay down my laptop, or plug the charger for my I-Phone (appendage) into an outlet, it’s a strange and disconcerting feeling. Until it’s not.
So while I am elated that my new (second, I ordered the wrong one first) battery and cord arrived today, just before I go away for the weekend, I find myself a little nostalgic.
For the no-choice in my disconnection, at least electronically speaking. Near the end of this week, I decided to unhook myself from some of my social media spots for several days too. I get tired of myself sometimes.
Without us, technology is just a tangle of cold wires and materials that only come to life with a human touch. We are more than bits and bytes. And all the information at our fingertips cannot replace the electricity of human touch.
As the light grows weaker this fall, and threatens to leave in the deep mid-winter, I may use my phone and laptop (and tablet, I hope) to help me reach out to the brighter world beyond my four walls.
And even though technology isn’t flesh and bones, it is an extension of me and you, reaching into a world that desperately needs our warmth and light and touch.
*Note: took the Meyer’s Briggs again and found I’m an ENFP. Nice to know. Also, I do not know how I used to stay under my covers for hours, I only lasted about ten minutes during this.