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Lily, My Tech Turnoff Experience

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I can’t get away from it.  It’s really hard, because I can almost feel myself being sucked into the void of technology. My sister had a friend over and they were looking at something on the computer in the living room, as my sister often does when friends are over.  I was looking at it, and very quickly, a couple minutes went by and then- whoops! I realized I was breaking the technology fast.  I felt a little guilty today for a couple of reasons.
Reason A: I had broken it a couple of times subconsciously. When a few people asked me to show them some photos, I quickly pulled up a few photos from my sister’s Facebook account (they had asked what she had looked like). Oops.
Reason B: I spent most of my evening (well, maybe all of it) on work related technology.  I had to type up my bibliography, then look up a good song to sing and play on guitar for music class.  It was kind of awkward, because I thought you had to know how to play the song on guitar, so for homework, I used an iPad app to play the song on guitar.  But to know if I was playing it correctly, I played the song on my iPod.  It was hard to know where the line between homework and playing guitar on an iPad app.  It is quite a fine line.
Then, there was the TV.  My dad, like quite a few dads, is a sports fan.  So every night, he plops down on the couch with my dog and watches whatever’s on.  It could be hockey, football, baseball, basketball, golf.  It doesn’t matter as long as it’s a sport.  So it was unavoidable when I was working on my homework in the living room to be next to the crescendo of the sports announcers saying, “Oh, it’s a run for the Mets!” and then the sound of the Heineken beer commercial.  The jingle is playing over and over in my head…

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I had an interesting thought.  My mother and I got an E-vite for a party.  If you do not know, an E-vite is an invitation sent out through email.  It shows you the guest list, and you can RSVP just by emailing back your RSVP. Not only does this take away the magic of receiving a mailed invitation, it can also turn you away from going if you know the guests.  A shy person might not attend a very fun party where they could meet their future husband if she doesn’t know anyone on the guest list except the host.  A person who isn’t good friends with anyone on the list might not go because they talk themselves into thinking it won’t be fun if they aren’t best friends with everybody.
It was a bit easier to resist technology today, for two reasons.

Reason A: I was pretty busy.  I had a play rehearsal, and by the time I got home, I couldn’t waste time on technology because of the typically challenging amount of homework I had to complete.

    Reason B: Yesterday, it felt as if it was special, the first day of no technology.  Today, it felt like another day, but I just wasn’t using it.  It didn’t feel like I was specifically tech free, but I just was.
It felt just fine not to use it, because today I didn’t need it for any of my homework.  I resisted the urge to go on gmail to ask for the science vocabulary list.  Instead of playing a useless game on my phone, I read ahead in Fahrenheit 451.  Also, it seemed like every single crevice in my day was occupied with something.  Had I finished my homework early, perhaps I would have knit or written a story, or maybe even read things in the Encyclopedia or draw pictures.
I did what I needed to do.  I texted my mom that I was at school and that I was heading home but I didn’t text a friend after that… that useless “hey,” or “‘sup?” is just a cover-up for the fact that you’re bored and kind of missing human company, but don’t want to do anything.  So you chat.  I sometimes chat with people I’m not even that good friends with, and then our conversation trails off, but we still stay chatting for whatever reason.  It’s not like you’re talking to their face.  On mail-chat, you’re talking to a name, a blank screen except for a full-of-potential “What’s up, Lily?”

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Okay, I had to.  It wasn’t as if I was really wasting tech time… I was learning! The Scripps National Spelling Bee happened to be happening tonight, and I just HAD to watch it.  I plan to be in the Bee next year (at least the citywide bee), and so I watched the spellers spell while I wrote down their words, origins, and definitions.

I noticed something interesting, true, and strange about technology.  With things a click away, not only do you get more impatient, you don’t use your brain, or do much manual labor.  I lost my science vocabulary list, so I was going to go online to ask if anybody had it.  Then I thought that no one would be online- Tech Turnoff.  So I just sighed and succumbed to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do my science homework.  But then I just looked through the pile of papers on my desk- there it was!  We really rely on technology to do for us what we can easily do for ourselves.  That seems like it’s a big theme in Fahrenheit 451 as well- the overuse of technology so that you can even stop experiencing the world.  It’s kind of sad that people walk around with their earbuds missing the fascinating conversations, the gentle sounds of the city. What I find funny is that I’m barely tempted by games on my phone… perhaps because. like Clarisse, I like to observe people, try to think what they might be doing. Sometimes I sketch them. But with your face pasted to a screen, how can you do this?

Friday, June 1, 2012
I’ve ruled out that it is definitely much easier not to use technology when you are busy. I had a performance of a play today, so I didn’t really have a chance to use technology.
I don’t have much homework today, so I’m a bit nervous because I’m afraid I’m going to crack badly. When I have nothing to do, I tend to go on my email or blog instead of actually doing productive things, like reading, knitting or writing. Also, often times when I write or knit, I listen to music with my headphones because it inspires my writing and sets a rhythm for my knitting.
What I’ve realized is that I may be dependent on the music, because perhaps I like the music more than I actually like to write or knit.  It motivates me to get the stuff I need to get done, done.  So it seems hard to have to get by without this technology that has integrated itself into such a central part of my everyday life.  I really want to finish off the tech fast strongly, but I’m kind of afraid that my weak willpower will give way to natural human temptation.  We’ll see.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I broke.  Completely.  I didn’t mean to, but it just kind of happened.  It started on Saturday.  I was on the computer, and then time ticked away, and suddenly it was almost the end of the day.  Then in the evening, we went to a movie.  I guess this might not count, because it was in theaters, and more people than just me consumed it.  But I did consume it.

On a high note, it may have been the best movie I’ve ever seen.  Technology can be good, if it really makes you feel something. Afterwards, I was so taken with the movie that I promptly looked for the soundtrack.  Then, this morning, I downloaded the soundtrack onto my iPod.  Embarrassingly enough, I’m listening to it right now.

I think this entire week has showed me the difference between wants and needs, happiness and desire.  Do I need to play my favorite game? Maybe not.  But I feel like I need to and want to because… why?  Will it make me any happier? I just don’t want to do anything, and it seems fun.  But it’s not as great as it seems.  How could I have seen that funny guy sitting across from me on the 1 train who smiled every so often in his sleep?  If I had my earbuds in and I was buried in a pointless game, I wouldn’t have.

The only thing with which I disagreed about the tech turnoff was music.  Listening to music brings me places, and it’s not entirely useless, because you can do other things while listening.  But thanks for this experience.

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