Last night something strange and horrible happened in my little world. I lost a friend. Yes, folks, my cell phone when to that plastic graveyard in the sky. I could go into specifics about how that happened, the power surges and wanton misuse of a usb cable, but I will not. That's not what this is about.
So what is this about, you ask? Another technology rat whining about how the world is lesser now that his favorite doodad has been taken away? I guess, if you choose to see it that way. An emo rant about technology failing me? Not really, I do not see it that way at least. No, this is a curiosity.
After I went through the five stages of grief of cell phone death (denial, anger, dammit I can fix this, there is no god, and acceptance) I realized I had an opportunity.
See, in the past four years I can tell you with confidence that there has not been at least one day where I did not use a smartphone in some capacity. I went from someone who hates phone calls (still do) to someone that had a little device weave its way into his life in some pretty meaningful ways. This blog, the website and podcast are all due to a smartphone that connected me to a twitter account. It allowed me to take pictures, read books, and listen to strangers discuss all manner of topics from anywhere I chose with little effort. So what happens when that all goes away?
I am fully aware of how goofy this sounds. Less than a decade ago I would have kicked my own ass at the mention that this would even feel important. But here I am, about to give up my cell phone for two months. Watch me squirm at the idea.
I can hear you asking, “how will you get phone calls and such?” I still have Google Voice tied to my phone number and all that is active at any computer I can log into plus my tablet. I can get and sent texts and listen to voicemails from anywhere with wifi. But for those stretches where I am not idle and in range of wifi (I live in Mississippi, this happens a lot) those things become useless. I am going back to a simpler time of 10 years ago where I had to get to the office or home to listen to my voicemails. If you think about technology exponentially, that’s like going from 2000 to 1980, stepping back away from technology that has ruled my life for the better part of a decade.
For stretches of time, I will not be reachable. At all. That excites me to no end.
Now, here’s what I’m gonna do. For the next two months, until February 13 when my contract is up with AT&T, I am going to blog each day about two things.
1. A random change of my daily life. My cell phone was a virtual swiss army knife of applications that kept me informed, entertained, communicative and a bunch of other things I will try to list. What happens when I can not read a book in line at the bank? When I can not get an answer right away? When I get lost? When I cannot turn on a podcast to drown out the office chatter? These will all probably happen. The podcast thing already did today, and man, Ashley, I agree with Ginger. You need to leave that zero and go find yourself a hero.
2. I am going to read at least 10 pages a day of
by Henry David Thoreau and report my findings over at my review site,
. I chose this for multiple reasons, the main one being the whole point of the book was to simplify, simplify, simplify. I know I am not going out into the woods or anything. Hell, I am taking away one thing in my technology riddled life. But I do feel a slight kinship to the idea and have not read the text since high school so that should be fun.
I promise to try to update this daily, but any long time reader knows I lie. And things happen, like Christmas and New Years and a certain bloggers birthday that will remain nameless that may cause him to become intoxicated with holiday cheer and booze and go on long twitter rants about pumpkins. Or whatever.
What do you guys think about this? Can I do it? Will I break down and buy a cell phone? Will I meet the love of my life only to lose her because I could not write down her number fast enough in my daily notebook? Will I be the asshole at the party taking pictures with his tablet? Stay tuned and tell me what you think.
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