Unplugging: Mission Impossible?

Posted on: Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
Posted in: Unplugging, Blog | Leave a comment

Some of us preach the Gospel of Sabbatical and insist your career will be fine—no, better!—with breaks.  I try to apply that lifestyle to my daily grind, which leads to a stubborn regimen of outdoor time, exercise, chillaxing, and unplugging.  Of all of these, unplugging has become the most impossible.  Help!

You can hide, but you can’t run away”

It’s summer.  Dive into it before the long days fade into fall, right? Do more bar-b-que and less Chili’s. Eat more fresh fruits and fewer roots.  Watch a parade, ball game, and fireworks instead of your various SCREENS.

But prepare to pay the price, which, for me, in a matter of a few days, included:

  • 755 unread emails
  • 2,400 messages in my in-box (which I sweep out regularly)
  • Lost messages, a check, and a bill (yay!)
  • A disappointed friend whose text invitation I did not notice
  • A money mess

And yet, one feels so…attached”

The conundrum thickens.  The more you step away from your (digital) desk, the larger the (proverbial) piles will be when you return.  So it’s little wonder that people seem plugged in 24/7.  Just in the past few days, I’ve witnessed now-common things like…

  • A senior citizen swerving while driving…because she was on her cel phone
  • Members of my household doing three digital devices…while watching TV
  • A gaggle of teen girls at a baseball game…all staring at their “smart” phones
  • A young man texting while driving…while eating a Big Mac
  • A jam-packed coffee shop…with everybody screen-ing, and nobody talking

I would prefer not to…”

When Herman Mellville’s novella, “Bartleby the Scrivener,” made famous that quote, he presaged how many of us feel about insistent digital demands.  But note that Bartleby’s “preference” is not an outright refusal.

And should you refuse, prepare to pay the price.

And for no one to listen.

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