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Ria, Turn-off Reflections

Day 1

I felt slightly vulnerable without my technology. Without sporadic bursts of music from my inexplicably slow computer blasting through my headphones, I felt confused and bored as to what tasks I had to complete. In fact, I did not know what to do until I remembered the outrageous amount of homework my teachers had given me. I was in a daze, with my eyes literally glazed over until my mother started to complain. I walked in a slow trance to my laptop and opened Microsoft Word, and felt my fingers open a new tab to Pandora. Temptation… I was almost salivating over the thought of turning the speakers on high and listening to some heavy metal and end up with a minor disability to my hearing capabilities. Too bad.

It also didn’t help that my brother was flaunting a new iSomething he got for his birthday in front of my face after I had cautiously explained my predicament to him, worried that he would abuse my misery. That was quite possibly the worst idea I’ve ever had. He made it a prominent point to play all of my least favorite songs from his room. Without headphones. When I told him off, he simply smirked and walked away from his room, not bothering to put the music down, knowing that I would succumb to the temptation of checking my email or some other tedious task if I turned the music off.

Instead of absent-mindedly fingering the glossy keys of a computer, I turned to more conventional forms of entertainment. Reading played a rather big part in infiltrating my iron bubble of technology filled lifestyle. It perforated the edges, threatening to bring down the walls of the life I know. I wasn’t really disappointed; in fact, I was ecstatic that the tech turn-off was actually having an impact. I ended up skimming more than seven books today; maybe not productive, but certainly sentimental.

Luckily, I didn’t need to use any technology for my homework because if I did, I’m sure I’d use it for menial tasks like clicking the neon red pop-up of another email. At the infancy of this tectonic turn-off, my mind still remains an enigmatic force, letting me refrain for some activities, persuading me to participate in others. My conscience is getting confused!

Day 2

Today was slightly more bearable for two reasons. The first reason is that I knew what hardships to expect; though they were minimal, the hardships were rather irking. I also knew what to do to fill up the seemingly endless vortex of boredom I had experienced for a good hour or so yesterday. I ended up practicing some of my instruments, strumming my guitar for half an hour or so, necessary if I wanted to enjoy my time instead of waiting for it to pass without doing anything. 

The second reason was because of the ominous echo of today’s life that Ray Bradbury conveys with his infamous book Fahrenheit 451 and the seemingly neutral character: Mildred Montag, wife of the main protagonist, Guy Montag. The zombie complex of Mrs. Montag is an ill omen of our foreboding future if we don’t do anything to stop it. Her infatuation for her “family” in a TV screen surpasses that for her husband like an ant to a giant. The meaning of life for her has been replaced with nothing.

After appreciating the dire situation of Mildred Montag, I looked upon her and all others in the book, and in real life, with disdain, yet pity. Yet, I look upon myself only with disdain if I find myself slipping into the freakily accurate portrait of Bradbury’s 4-screen wall by simply checking my email. I have not succumbed yet, and I hope I shall be able to stand the rest of the week as well.

Today, I didn’t meet any unwanted temptations to check my email in my head. I went for a walk, trying to clear my mind. It didn’t work. Instead, thought-provoking questions were poking my mind. It was agonizing. I feel like instead of using technology, I should convert to some monk and accept a change in my life.

Day 3

I felt that today was harder than yesterday, but easier than Monday. Since the amount of homework the teachers assigned to us was minimal, I found a lot of spare time on my hands. This obviously meant that I couldn’t use technology, leading to some hours of misery. I didn’t feel the driving sense of motivation like yesterday. I didn’t think at all; I was enclosed a consuming thought: What should I do now? Honestly, since this turn-off his partially about being completely truthful to yourself and others, I wasn’t sure.

To keep my mind away from technology, I went outside and took a brief walk in the park, hoping that the cool wind would refresh my mind. As always, I was wrong. Since luck seems to abhor me, I came across a string of teenagers tapping away on their iPads, not even bothering to enjoy the cool wind. In fact, they looked at me with an expression of loathing; why wasn’t I on my iPod, chatting with my friends? Who was this alien actually taking a walk in the park? Their only purpose was to encase themselves happily into the monotonous droning of their mechanical background music of their ridiculous games. One would think that the logical conclusion of going outside is to enjoy the weather, right?

It seems that Fahrenheit 451’s prediction is gradually coming true. Alienation to anyone different, lack of intelligence. That is exactly what Bradbury is saying in his book.
Unfortunately, I made a slip up after my even after my sermon. I picked up my phone and started to play a game. However, no sooner did I start playing, I started to remember Mildred Montag’s glazed eyes and pumping “seashells.” Disgusted with myself, I clenched my teeth and walked away. Fahrenheit 451 is certainly making an impact of my state of mind. When I start reading, I nervously peer around the walls, making sure that no fireman is going to burn down the house.

People don’t think that Ray Bradbury’s message deserves to be taken seriously. I find that rather unfathomable. Today’s generation simply cannot survive without technology.
Day 4
I read a lot today. However, I didn’t read to divert myself from technology; I read because I needed to enrich my mind. I read because I needed to. I realized that I missed so much when on my laptop and computer, only being able to comprehend a condensed version of the realness of a book. Books cannot be displayed on a screen. Books are meant to be truly read, pages being turned by nervous hands, suspense filling the reader when they turn the page and find the next section of the story only wants them to read more.

Technology is just a garish, colorful, perfect version of what life should be. Life is not about killing pigs with birds, it is about succumbing to the government (a theme in many books, including Fahrenheit 451 and 1984.) I now realize the true importance of books, of holding the slightly warm, porous pages, the flutter of pages as one turns them. Technology is a mere filler for what I really yearn for. Technology is superfluous, surplus, necessary for the most trivial uses.

I wish that I could indeed survive without technology, but I know that I’ll eventually succumb to the temptations of a stress-relieving planned out world with bright smiles and mechanical plots. Today, I didn’t feel the temptations, but who knows how long this brief interlude of serenity will last? Who knows how long anyone can last without technology? Today, I realized the love and affection that books can shower upon us. I realized the comfort books give us, and the cold behavior we return to them. Books are necessary to realize the innermost secrets of our own lives.

I do think I will continue my use of technology in the future, but hopefully in more contained amounts. If I ever feel the need to completely bury myself in a fake life, I’ll remember Fahrenheit 451’s desperation and loneliness that only books can ever nurse.

Day 5

The weekend was somehow greatly easier than I had expected. Oddly enough, it was my parents who understood my dilemma and decided to evade my hopeless sorrow and take me out to the Natural History Museum (as if I didn’t see enough of it when I go to school every single day.) Even though it was a kind gesture to bring me to a museum, my parents cannot seem to grasp the fact that that AMNH is one of the most tech-savvy museums to which one can attend. No sooner do I enter the familiar main entrance with the looming dinosaurs when I see an ad for the “NEW IPAD,” courtesy of a minor company, plastered across the wall. Personally, I think that itself should be considered vandalism.

Releasing a sigh of disgust, I walked ahead, anticipating some other form of torture after my disappointing entrance. Obviously,  I have to see a child younger than me, perhaps six or seven years of age, displaying an act of total defiance towards her frazzled mother, who is trying to restrain her with a promise of ice cream. The girl pauses dramatically, about to launch into a temper tantrum and scream when her mother finally relents and silences her with her iPod. How can children possibly find entertainment in such a corrupting source? How can parents provide them with it?

I feel as though the more I relinquish my hold on technology, the more others (and more annoying) individuals seem to grasp it in their iron grip, refusing to let it go. I realized how much I relied on technology, but I also realized that others were using technology for such useless purposes that it completely eliminated any positive uses it could ever have. I never thought about why I used technology, it just seemed to exist. It was just… there… It was a reflexive use for all the tedious things I use it for.

All though the struggle seems harder every day, I try not to succemb to a condensed version of history itself. Everyone around me seems pathetic yet pitiable. Books have made history. Books are history. And nothing a flashing screen can do will ever challenge a book’s superiority.


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