(To my knowledge, there has been no amazing sporting victory by an Australian in the last 2 days since I posted. I could be wrong here and call me cynical, but it’s been a pretty good 2 days, well, if you don’t count US Open Champion Sam Stosur’s hairstyle [see above] that she decided to flout her trophy with… I’d say she’s tied at 1-1 with Serena Williams right now.)
This wasn’t meant to happen like this.
A few weeks ago I touted the possibility of not renewing to a smartphone when my contract comes up in October. I have at times felt too connected, and the thought of having space away from texts, emails and non-stop access to the interweb posed a pleasant consideration. (pleasant – terrible word…)
My hand was forced on the first day on the last month of my phone contract. Unbeknownst (great word!) to me, downloading the iPhone 4.0 software took up my entire downloads for the month and it just happened to coincide with the first day of the contractual month.
(I would now like to point out that it took me an infuriating 45+ minutes on the 3 ‘Help’ line to ascertain this. There’s no way I can take this further without seeming racist, and it’s not about that; but seriously … it took 30 minutes for them to understand and find that there must have been a day when a massive download happens because I never go close to using up all my data – ‘Um, how about that day when there was a 244MB download – that might have been the one you were looking for…’ And then the next 15+ minutes was spent figuring out what the download actually was, except we couldn’t know because it’s ‘private’. As in, my own private information, so private in fact that I’m not allowed to know what it is… That was cathartic and I thank you for your time.)
This is probably the time to publicly acknowledge that, while I am getting better (lots), there’s just some things that I resent paying big dollars for – presents for kids who have everything and don’t even understand it’s their birthday … or what a birthday is … or that the thing poking them in the eye is their own hand, food at group dinners I didn’t eat, parking, $7.50 for a DVD rental, and of course, bananas. (Btw, I cut that list short in case I lost any and all credibility [that may remain].)
It should come as no surprise then that I had no intention of continuing to use any downloads above and beyond my already overcapped usage for the month.
So began a month without using my phone to access the net.
Straight back in
It’s amazing how quickly you can step back into old habits, good or bad. Transitioning back to needing computers for net access, or friends, was not a hassle at all. I was never more than a couple of minutes away from whatever information I may have ‘needed’. I never really felt inconvenienced, frustrated or out of the loop. On the other hand, I did feel freer in my ability to just think and reflect, I was not as hyped up all the time and able to relax a bit better. To ensure this, I even avoided setting up my laptop as soon as I got home from work each night – a regular practice – to keep my head in the game.
Mark Sayers has suggested carrying a book around instead of a smartphone, and, when the urge arises to check it, read a part of the book instead. I repeat this only because I find it interesting and to provide an alternative, not due to any intention I have of carrying around either Jon Owen’s ‘Muddy Spirituality’ or ‘Inside of a Dog’ by Alexandra Horowitz. (Good thing too for my arms that I’ve finished Bill Clinton’s 9-5-7 page autobiography.) I think the sight of me exiting the single staff toilet, book in hand, to a corridor of waiting female staff would not be met too joyfully.
It can be done
I came across a crazy stat today from a McCann Worldgroup study of over 7,000 people, which found that 53% of 16-22 year olds would rather give up their sense of smell than their favourite personal tech device. Seriously?! Surely not. So … I guess it’s clear that I’m going against the grain here!
Still, it’s handy to know in this ever-increasing world of stimulus, stories, sales and signs, that our worlds will continue to function handily minus some of the indispensable technology that defines this generation. With a new month for the contract, there has already been a noticeable change in my behaviour; I arrive somewhere and realise I don’t have my phone with me – an unthinkable proposition until recently, I don’t feel the need to be constantly connected to the latest news, scores or information, and there is more time to … just be.
Whether it be sport, technology or whatever your crutch may be, it’s remarkable how the, ‘I just couldn’t do it’ response is so quickly eradicated with putting it on the sidelines for just a short spell.
Back on the wagon last night watching a couple of DVDs, I was able to clarify through the iPhone for a couple of friends the age of Emma Stone (22) and Lisa Kudrow (48 … seriously!). I think the world’s a better place…