Sunday, December 2, 2012
Going phone free for December
I made a choice this week to turn off my cell phone. I must admit, it's strange -- the electronic toy I've carried around for five years feels oddly missing. I keep thinking I must check for emails - although the computer is always on. I should look at Facebook -- although its always a great distraction, it adds little to my knowledge base or friendships. How strange to be attached to such a Machiavellian device that keeps me linked to a world of trivial noise and time wasting past times. And stranger still to actually miss it. We have a land line for phone calls, I can always call anyone for an unlimited amount of time. My marathon talk sessions really have no end in sight, other than being tethered to a base station. So why do I miss it?
I have a lifetime of projects to to do -- I am recording a new CD that requires cover art and liner notes. I have ten fabulous new bottles to decorate for the Lwa. The altars need their annual cleaning. And lets not forget it's December - the ubiquitous tree has to go up, we're hosting a dinner party this weekend for 12 folks, and there is shopping to do, a new pup to house train, a new dress for the Legba fet to embroider. The list is endless and grows daily. So why am I missing this stupid little electronic habit?
Even in Haiti, the cell phone has become the de rigeur accessory. And not to put it lightly, but you must TWO, because the island has two separate coverage plans. If you want to talk to someone in the north or the south, you need to have a cell phone that covers those areas. And there's no single plan to do that. My friend Jaxx Labrom carts around two phones to talk to her crews in the field. Talk about a ball and chain.
Perhaps it is as St. Augustine says, "a habit if not resisted, soon becomes necessity." My husband was really upset that I chose to turn off the cell. "What will you do if you are out and get stuck?" he asked. Well, I thought, what did I do before I had a cell? I knocked on a door and asked to use the phone. One time, I had a tire blow out on the highway. I pulled over, got out, locked the car, climbed down the embankment and walked to the nearest gas station. It wasn't a life crisis to ask for help in person. Maybe, we need to do more of that -- you know, talk face to face, instead of cell to cell.
I was in the diner having lunch last week, watching a young couple at the next table. They were both staring fiercely -- not at one another, but at their cell phones. My first thought was are they texting one another? -- wierd.
I think we should all put down the cell phones -- even for just one day. That might help the instant gratification issue we all seem to be having right now. We might even foster a dialog with one another -- you know, have a National Day of Talking.
Think I'll go walk the dog and then check my neighbor who just had a baby. In person, too.