Thursday, July 11, 2013

Turn Off Your Phone!

I love technology, but I’m not a big fan of the cellphone. Obviously cellphones make life easier in many ways, but there are also lots of drawbacks. One of the biggest for me is the way people act as if a phone call—any phone call—is a matter of life and death. It used to be that we lived our lives away from the phone, even when we were home. It rang over in the corner or in the next room, and if you wanted to ignore it you could. Now when it rings it’s in your pocket or hand and its very disruptive.

In this YouTube video someone is filming (probably with a cellphone) a baby and a cat having a wonderful interaction. The baby’s laughter is full and rich. But then the phone rings, and the baby makes a grunt of displeasure—the ring-tone means the parent’s attention is gone. The phone call breaks the mood: the cat walks away and the game is over.

Another example: not long ago my husband and I were rehearsing with a bass player once a week, with the plan of getting good enough to play gigs. But his girlfriend insisted that he always answer her calls--no matter what he was doing. So we'd be in the middle of the song, the phone would ring, and we'd have to stop and listen to her tell him something trivial, something that could have waited. Needless to say, I found this extremely annoying.
What’s wrong with turning off the phone? What’s wrong with not knowing the minute a call or text arrives? Of course some people need to stay wired, but most of us don’t need to be so wired. What is it about having the sound on—we can even set our computer to beep when we get an email? Is it that receiving calls and texts makes us feel more connected and important?
If you have trouble with the idea of turning off your devices, there are now retreats to experience life without electronics.
I have a cellphone and it’s mostly turned off. I recommend you try it. 

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