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Thursday
Jun252009

Are You Too Connected?

So something both sad and fortuitous happened to me this week (which will be no surprise if you follow me on Twitter, since I complained a lot and loudly), but that is that my 5-week old iPhone bit the big one. Do not even ask me how (I have no idea) and do not ask me about it (I may blow a gasket b/c they wouldn't honor the warranty...did I mention that it was five freaking weeks old, and despite the fact that the genius bar dude claimed I'd "immersed it in water," I had not, and I have not, and the only thing I wanted to immerse was his face with my fist...but anyhoo...I digress). 

It turned out that, with the exception of my credit card bill as I was forced to buy a new one, this might have been a blessing in disguise. You see, between the time when it completely busted itself and the time that I was forced to purchase a new one, I was completely cell-free. Yikes. I know. Seriously, try to think about this. No email on the go. No twitter while walking down the street. No Facebook while waiting on dwindling lines at the grocery store. It made my skin crawl, made me antsy. What if someone needed to reach me asap? What if an urgent email came in claiming I was anointed with, I don't know, the Nobel prize? Who knew? Not me.

And then, because I had nothing else to do but think, I thought about it. I realized that I have become the person who takes her cell phone on her 5-mile runs, who is constantly checking email while running errands, and well, I have to admit that I think my writing, or more accurately, my ability to tap into my creativity has suffered. I've said here before that I often do my best thinking when I have no choice but to be alone with my thoughts: on my long runs, during my dog walks, times when I'm disconnected...and, well, if I'm constantly plugged in, I'm never disconnected. How had I ended up like this? I hate my husband's blackberry so much I want to flush it down the toilet, and yet, it seemed like I wasn't too far behind.

So, yesterday, when I got my new iPhone (did I mention I had to pay for it?), I did something sort of remarkable. I turned it off as I walked home from the store. I let myself, well, just be. Just listening to my music, just thinking about whatever needed to be thought about, and yes, to  be honest, I think it helped my writing, since I came home and revised my draft for a good 3 1/2 hours. 

I'll be leaving it home on my runs from now on too. Who needs to check their email while jogging around Central Park? Really? Think about it. Disconnect yourself for a few minutes a day, and I think you might find that you agree, and more importantly, that your writing might agree too.

(Disclaimer: no genius bar dudes were hurt in the writing of this post, and of course, I do not intend any physical harm toward them, as I fully realize they are not responsible, so don't post comments that I'm threatening them or anything!) :)

Reader Comments (9)

On Monday, I dropped my iPhone for the second time in two weeks. I was at the airport, trying to carry too many things and away it went. In slow motion, I watched it sail toward the concrete and I cursed myself for refusing to put one of those "bulky" cases on it.

The first time I dropped it and lost all use of the touch screen, my very cute, much younger, assistant sweet talked the genius bar guy into giving me a new one at no charge. I promise this is not to rub it in your face that you had to pay... I actually have a point.

But this time, the second time around, it's up to me to go in and try to fast talk, sweet talk, maybe better if I don't talk, the genius bar dude at my scheduled appointment time of 3pm today. (Of course I drop in the midst of the new iPhone coming out so it took me days to get an appointment. DAYS!)

The result of the second drop was losing the ability to use the space bar. An immensely important feature that you completely take for granted until you no longer have it (probably like thumbs or even a big toe?) So, I have not been able to text since Monday. Unless, of course, there are one word answers to things...which, there so rarely are (another thing you don't realize until you only have that option).

So, I've been slightly disconnected from the world. And I will tell you that it has stopped me from texting while in the car (I know, I know...) and texting and writing emails when it's not necessary (which is most of the time, I've realized).

I'm not sure if I can stop taking my phone to the gym and setting it in the little holder on the Precor machine "just in case"... And I'm not sure if I can NOT look at it while in the car. But through my double drop experience, I have learned that it's just not necessary to be checking it, writing on it and loving all over it at all times of the day.

Wish me luck at the genius bar!
xo

June 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Steinke

Great post, Allison. Although, of course, sorry to hear your tragic news - about having to pay all over again!

I agree. Shutting off the phone and stepping away from the Internet is a must from time to time. Of course I love to be connected to people, read blogs and twitter til the cows come home. Reality, though, is whatever time spent not writing is... well… time spent not writing. So there has to be that balance, as you point out.

While I have a cell phone, it’s an “emergency only” device that is only turned on when absolutely necessary. Even though home phone is unplugged most days since the sound of a ringing phone is enough to interrupt some of those prolific moments. However, my biggest addiction and distraction is the net. Sigh. But I’m working on balance.

Good luck with your disconnection experiment!

June 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori A. May

Great post Allison! I can so relate! Although I don't have an iphone (and btw...thats bogus that you had to pay for a new one!!) I recently bought a blackberry pearl. This is the first time I have had access to emails and the net via a cellphone and part of me wishes I didn't! I am already somewhat addicted to the internet and all its connections via FB etc, so now I have my phone with me and find myself checking if that little red alert light is blinking to let me know mail came through! I am going to make an effort to try as you to disconnect. As a writer I do think it will help. Its such an easy distraction though!

June 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Bueti

Allison,

Good for you for breaking the addiction! However, may I suggest that you continue to take your phone on your runs (just vow not to use it) . . . except in case of emergencies.

Best!

Bonnie
www.YourGiftToMe.net

June 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie Latino

Allison, I would like to suggest you continue to take your iphone with you on runs for safety sake. Other than that....I agree wholeheartedly, silence can be a real blessing. Imagine what it would be like if you went the entire weekend without email, twitter, facebook.....sounds like bliss to me!

June 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

We are so too connected these days. Unless you're running alone at night through the park (you don't do that, do you?) then go for that run without your phone. The other day I was going to the bathroom at the mall and the woman in the stall next to me was chatting away on her cell phone the whole time!

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbookbabie

Allison:

Good for you! It's too easy these days to become crazed with all of the technology we literally have at our fingertips. This iphone tragedy may have been a blessing in disguise.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Chick Lit Review

You are so right. I try to have not connected time everyday. And I am putting a moratorium on the table top cell phones when meeting friends for a drink. if they want to be with the person on their mobile device, then I'll find another place to sit.
being in the moment, means just that. be present.

Linda

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Sands

Your reasoning is exactly why I do not want to get an iPhone or Blackberry. I can check my email on my crappy samsung phone but only do so when I am on vacation at far away unplugged places. Otherwise, I only check my email at home on my dinosaur of a desktop. Freakout-yes, I do not have a laptop even. I am living in the stone ages!

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterManic Mommy

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