Friday, February 11, 2011

Text, Emails, and What Matters Most

Today I read an interview of Jonathan Safran Foer, interviewer not named but on Daily Candy. This post is because of that interview. Let me explain.

I had planned on not writing today. I have tons to do. I woke up to a cold house (ran out of oil), and have to plan for and throw a class party today. In one hour, by the way. I have to also get Valentine's for my son to give to his class, since he doesn't want homemade ones anymore. And I'd like to go to the gym, and there are other things too. I won't be meeting my friend Deb for coffee after all, won't be getting my nails done. Endless morning.

I talk to my boyfriend every morning when the day begins, but when I called today, he was unavailable. 

I called my mother next, to ask if the offer still stands for me to take my grandfather's old sheet music, but once she heard that I was going to die cut it into hearts to make a year-round mobile for my bedroom (I thought it would be a nice way to honor his music, and make something pretty), she said no. She doesn't want it cut up. I'm sure it's getting far more respect sitting in a closet's corner, in a pile, collecting dust.

With all this, one of the messages in the aforementioned interview just sang. Jonathan Safran Foer says that when his Blackberry contract is up, he's getting rid of it. When the interviewer told him that it seemed really tough thing for anyone to do, he responded, "We have to do it, or else we’re totally f- - -ed. We’re going to be on our deathbeds looking back, being like, “How much time did I spend on e-mail looking up stuff I didn’t care about?” We don’t need them. We totally don’t. We only believe we do."

I get it.  I like to say that I keep my phone on me in the event that my son needs me. However, I admit that I do use it to check emails and surf the web. I find, too, that in social situations, sometimes those around me will be on their Blackberry/iPhone/Droid instead of being present in the conversation. Thus, what Foer said really struck a chord.

I know that I will not be the person trading in my Blackberry when the contract ends (do I even have a contract?) but I do like the idea of shutting down (not off, just down) when it's not necessary, and on the weekends. I still see people texting while driving, and holding their phones (so they are on speaker). Do they think that's okay? And what is so important it can't wait?

There's this mom that comes to pick her kids up at school everyday in her ginormous SUV, the biggest one they make. I'm not sure the brand, and my town is so small that identifying the vehicle might call her out, something I'm not comfortable doing. Anyhow, I get there early and read, so I get a good parking spot. She comes about 10 minutes before pick up, cannot get a spot, and just circles the front of the school. She's done this since September, and every single time she passes me, she is talking on her phone, on speaker, holding it in front of her face. We are at school. Kids are everywhere, and it is so dangerous, not to mention illegal. I see her and wonder, is she so bored that she cannot stand a minute of silence? Who does she need to talk to so badly, that she must do so while circling the school?

I guess my whole point is to slow down. Stop living through technology and start living in the world. We don't need these phones to get through the day. As an attempt to start living life more fully, and less virtually, I will not be checking my email after 3 p.m. today, and will return to the plastic tabletop box on Sunday night, to write my blog. No social networking, no emails, no online ordering, no blogs. (p.s. My spell check doesn't recognize the word "texting" -- how cool is that?)

No one needs to muddle through life via text alerts and useless emails about nothing. Ask yourself, can you spend a whole weekend free of emails and web surfing? I dare you to try.


  1. Great idea! Wish I could do the same but unfortun my job requires me to have my BB on & dinging! I do take days off though but a whole wkend would be fabulous. I am currently job hunting for a new job, maybe my new job will allow my week ends free from constant communication, ahhh a girl can dream can't she!

  2. With the invent of a certain huge internet auction site my business sadly has turned into "quite the flea market". There used to be power in the knowledge that years of experience in visually inspecting and researching via books gave you. Today i go out on "the hunt" and all who want to get ahead and not make any buying mistakes have "crack"berries. They simply stand in front of an item read off the name and type in to find out what it is selling for online. My friends are still amazed that i can point to china two rows away and say ohhh look at that ___. years of experience taught me what I am looking at NOT the bay place. It's sad. And yet I too want a "crack" berry....for those times I get 'excited" on the hunt and find what I think is a treasure....I want it so I can avoid the mistakes one can make thinking it is still 1990 and the market for such item is hot and pay too much. If you know me you know i strive to "keep it simple" I knit, read ,listen to music and almost never watch tv. I try to use technology in my life as a way to keep up in business(gotta feed the kiddie) and yet I struggle always to simplfy. Balance....that is what we all need. We need to read wonderful blogs (on the internet)about keeping it simple, and saving our planet one clothes pin at a time. We need to listen when people talk to us and teach our children the value of paying attention to those around us(instead of having their faces stuck in a viedo game or texting).We need to write, and make jokes,plant a garden and cook for those we love (and those who don't have) and we also need to "keep up" with the times and use our technology in moderation....and NOT let big brother's all by choice. that is what we were given so many years ago...the power of choice to choose how we all evolve. "Crackberries" are NOT necessary, but they are handy at times. Use with caution and moderation.....just like everything.

  3. I agree w you, Anon, that crackberries serve a valuable purpose, and w all you said. What I don't like is that sometimes people pay more attn to their berries than they do to their actual living and personal conversations.

  4. As long as YOU control IT and then IT will not control YOU then they are amazing tools. Think of them in those terms and it's a new world. As you already know, I don't give out my cell # nor does my cell phone do anything but text and make calls. I still have a land line too . Make it work for YOU and life is very harmonious

  5. I've been without a cell phone since mid-November. Life continues on just fine! Call me at home and leave a msg.

  6. Came back a little early, just because I had to check a sale. It's been great. Going back to a computer-free life until tonight :)

  7. You are right Tiffany- I am afraid we are actually losing our ability to socialize in person, as a society. I am married to one of about 6 folks left in the US that uses her cell phone only for emergencies! She averages 3-5 minutes of usage a month. (She does use the home phone) We sit out at dinner- gossiping about the couples sitting opposite each other, having seperate text conversations with folks who are elsewhere- I just want to pull the guy aside and inform him "Listen, champ- you are sitting here, with a pretty woman, and you are MORE interested in whomever is on the other end of the text? really? and you are going to be upset when you dont get laid later? really? PUT THE DAMNED PHONE AWAY!"

    I have mine on me when we are out, its on vibrate, and the ONLY call that will be answered is one from our kids. period.

    The driving and talking part is crazy and dangerous as well- but everything these days simply seems to be about what we WANT to do. I want to...therefore I will...Mind your own business. Except- they are actually endangering all of US.
    Its ok...the hate keeps me warm in the winter...
    Powering down now and again feels wonderful. I am not an addict- but its still too much for my Luddite wife. She is the one that keeps the friends as well as the family togther, by the way- as she initiates the dinners together, the roadtrips, the shared experiences, and the regular parties and gatherings we throw, so that the social ties never get too far gone.