Sunday Reflections: Why I Stay Unplugged

screens

I am not addicted to technology.  In fact, just the opposite.

I do not spend my evenings absorbed in the interwebs.  If you email me, there’s a better than average chance I won’t respond for at least 48 hours– usually because I haven’t logged in to see it.    If you text me, it is likely I won’t even know it until 10pm, mostly because I never know where my phone is, at which point it is too late for me to respond, so I’ll wait till morning, when I’ll probably forget.

In fact, it is so bad, there is a standing joke about it among my friends.  I am ALWAYS the last to respond to a group text or to RSVP via email.  It isn’t that I don’t care, because I do.  It isn’t that I’m trying to be rude, because it breaks my heart when someone is hurt by my lack of response.

But there’s something about a computer screen I can’t connect with; something about the cultural expectation that we be always connected and available which makes me feel terribly rebellious, and there’s something about the informality of it all that bleeds me of any urgency to respond.

The funny paradox is that while all the various forms of technology and communication reduce my urgency, they increase my stress.

I am always acutely aware of the 50– that is the current number– unread emails in my inbox;  most of which are the result of poor spam filters.  Sifting through those 50 emails on a treasure hunt for the few real ones is an arduous and anxiety provoking task, so I avoid it.

I know what your thinking, you’re thinking that problem is easily fixed with a few tweaks to the spam filter rules.  And you’d be right, except when I increase the security, inevitably, real and important emails get sifted away with the ads and phishing scams into cyber-spam-space, leaving me no better off than if it were buried 50 deep in my inbox.

I just can’t keep up.  And I don’t want to.   We live in a world connected and wired.  Even I have an iPhone (thanks JS!!!), but I want my life to happen with real people  in real places, and honestly, I’m not thrilled to stop everything to type out my thoughts every time my phone pings me.

I liked the phone and answering machine days.  If you didn’t call someone back in an hour they weren’t worried you died or stopped liking them– they just figured you were out.   I know those days are over, but I’m holding on to whatever pieces I can.

Cheers,

Natalie

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