My love-hate relationship with technology

I’m back from our cruise vacation ­čÖé

When friends ask, “So how was it?” I give two pat answers: I ate too much and it was glorious to be away from my computer. Being on a ship where internet access cost in the neighborhood of $1 per minute, I stayed away easily. What surprised me is that I realized I did not miss the technology. I loved having an excuse not to crouch in front of a computer. I loved that my cell phone read “No service.” I used to get extremely antsy if I couldn’t get my fingers on a keyboard, but this time I couldn’t get enough of feeling disconnected from society.┬á

Since I’ve been back I’ve been having a recurring dream: each time I was in a bedroom within an enormous and crowded space. I couldn’t identify where I was, but it felt like a combination airport-cruise ship-shopping mall. In my dreams I would be going about my personal business while┬ácrowds of people were streaming in and out. Does this signal a blurring of lines between my private self and the public?

When I think about my waking life, I realize how much of it I live sitting in my rather dark, ground-floor home office. I usually log on at a quarter to 8 in the morning, and try to get work out of the way first. If I’m done early, I would then go on to do a number of other things while never changing position let alone leaving my desk: check our finances; pay bills; arrange for household repairs and any other problems/issues; make any necessary appointments (dental, accounting, etc.); check in to my on-line writing class; shop; read the news; read blogs; check Facebook and comment on Facebook; research potential business ideas, relevant┬áparenting/educational/health topics,┬árecipes, vacations, retirement plans; read and respond to emails; etc. The reasons I would lift my butt off my chair are limited: to get something to eat; to shower; to use the toilet; to pick Fred up from school. When Max says, “Hey, you want to go to the post office with me?” I typically leap at the chance.

´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐But this is also a confession I feel sheepish about making, because not only does technology mean work (which seems to carry an inherent right to gripe), it also means relationships. I now do a significant portion of my socializing on line through Facebook, blogs, and email. Does my serious discomfort of sitting in one position 9 hours a day and staring at a rectangular screen mean that I don’t want to be with my friends? Over the last few months I have been utterly slow about responding to emails or keeping up with blogs. “I’m so sorry for responding so late…” has become my new salutation. I hate it, but I don’t know how to explain to friends that my worsening communication is not personal.

Our local Border’s is having a store closing sale. That leaves our town with one last bookstore. I’m┬á sure I had my hand in contributing to the bankruptcy of Border’s, as time and again I would compare prices and choose to purchase my books through Amazon. And I never thought I’d say this, but I think I actually wouldn’t mind walking to a mailbox somewhere and depositing my bills there. I think there are trees along the way I could look at. And letters! Remember those days when you actually peeked out the window to see when the mailman was coming to bring a letter from a far-away friend? Credit card applications and local coupons. That’s all the postal worker brings anymore. And maybe one day s/he will be gone too.

8 thoughts on “My love-hate relationship with technology

  1. Ah yes…again (as with most of your posts) my thoughts exactly. I think if My Guy and I took this cruise together, he’d jump off the boat. He’s got Tech Crack issues. And lately, I feel that way myself just because, like you, most of my relationships have started from my online activities or have been maintained that way by being active on FB, blogs and emails. Without them, I would feel like I have no social life. Even if all I do is sit in front of my computer these days, I still feel like I’m part of a social network. That’s the power of technology I guess.

    But I do miss old-fashioned letters; I remember the first few years I was here and I’d look at my mailbox every day anticipating something from a friend or a family member and usually something sweet and special would be there at least once if not twice a week. These days, due to the enormous amount of junk and bills, I check my mail perhaps once every three days. If that.

    I could go on and on about this but I have online bills I have to get to. OH, one more thing: I’m an Amazon junkie myself and feel responsible/guilty for the disappearance of bookstores. However, my frugal self often triumphs over my need to help out local shop owners90. But then again, Borders is hardly local, so I’m only half guilty.

    Have a wonderful weekend. Glad you’re back!

  2. I’ve been feeling the same way about technology. Lately, I’ve felt that slumping in front of a computer, even if I’m connecting with other people, is not the way I want to live my life. Maybe the warmer weather has something to do with it.

    It’s wonderful you had such a relaxing vacation!

  3. I know what you mean. Getting away and out has become more and more deliberate. Even vacations aren’t vacations anymore. Myhusband is only half with us, b/c the laptop is checked every 2 hours, at least. And so are the phone msgs.

    No one is unreachable anymore. And people spend hours in front of the screen.

  4. Yes. I kind of want to declare a no Internet week, but that’s scary. And how would the bills be paid? Stamps? Oh my!?! No, honestly, I would miss the connections I do make. However, recently, I’ve been feeling more hollow out in cyberspace.
    I’m glad it was a good trip!

  5. ust the other day I ran into a neighbor at the mailbox and mentioned how I still look forward to the mail every day even though 99% of the time it’s bills or junk. Ah, the face of hope.

  6. Here in New Hampshire, we’ve had an extremely stormy winter, even by NH standards, and my computer has kept me sane. That said, I’m looking forward to the spring melt and seeing my neighbors and friends again as we all come out of hibernation.

    I would love to try a day without technology…wouldn’t be easy!

  7. Since learning that I am pregnant with baby #2, I have had (by necessity) many a days without technology. Blogging, twittering, emailing, it is all work and requires mental effort that I, in the past weeks, didn’t have to give.

    I think technology is great, but in being without it, I have realized that it sometimes stands in the way of real life, real communication, and real relationships. It sometimes makes us forget that those real things are real and intangibly important.

    Oh, and lucky you for being able to take a Cruise! I am sooo jealous!

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