I’m sitting in bed on a lovely Sunday, my most pensive day, oh Great One. Coffee steaming on the night stand. I am covered in my soft and comfy duvet while surrounded by massive pillows propping me up. But something is wrong. Laying around me is techno-carnage: my cell, tablet, e-reader and strapped on my wrist is a smart watch. I sit back and look in horror (Brando echoing in my brain), “Do these ridiculous pieces of plastic and metal actually enhance my life or are they just giant blocks of concrete dangling around my neck,” I think while rubbing the top of my head (fortunately I still have hair – thanks mom). I jump out of bed and as I hit the floor, my brain quickly dashes to my step counter. “Will I reach my goal for the day?” The thought repulses me. Immediately, I unstrap the device and put on a good old fashioned Timex – no counter, notifications or GPS, just the time (remember those days, my friends, when all watches did was .. you know … tell the time). I start to tremble after I realize that my personal world record of 25 continuous days of 10k steps is just about to end. I grab the dog and go out the door not caring if I hit the step mark or not. I feel a great rush of freedom. My dog, on the other hand, looks up and says, WTF? I was in on that record dip-shit.
Now for the cell phone. Device number two is starting to control my life a bit too much (as if the dog doesn’t do that enough). Prune number one. Turn off the little light that blinks every time I receive a notification. Do I really need this? It continuously flashes – pleading me to pick it up and run my soft luscious fingers across her screen, “Please Danny, just a little touch, come on big boy.” I try to ignore it , but it’s impossible. That ugly block of black glass just sits there, blinking, tempting me like a giant bowl of Halloween candy three days before the masks and costumes come out (plenty of time to replenish!). It’s hard. I turn off the light and blinking Jezebel – gonzo. Prune two. I’ve decided to put the phone directly into my knapsack and not look at it until I get to work, which is a good twenty minutes from the time I jump from bed in the morning (I know right, awesome or what – the control on that man).
As for my e-reader, no problem because I have never even turned the WiFi on. My e-reader does one thing – shows me words that form paragraphs and stories. And this is not a bad piece of advice. If you get an e-reader make sure it can minimally perform one function – read ideas. I’ve pretty much abandoned my tablet for the same reason. Every time I start to read I constantly get distracted. For instance while the dog starts barking out the window as I am reading, I go to Kijiji and search for “People looking for cute dog.”
It’s been a good week now with all my tech modifications and I feel great. I sleep better. I focus better (relationship here!). I actually listen to my students in class. And I think about shit before I actually Google it. The big lesson, though, is either you control tech or it controls you. Surprise, surprise.