03 August 2009

The Things We Can Live Without (But Don't Want To)

So for a week we’ve been without cable and internet and are somehow still alive. I do admit, it was close there for a second, but we did actually manage to come out the other side in tact and more or less sane….at least I did.

With a new job to adapt to and insane hours no decent person should expect to work and still be coherent, I didn’t think I’d be affected by the loss of electronic entertainment. I was wrong. I’m content to read and write and talk all day. The latest episode of this and the freshest update of that are things I can take or leave as necessary. I don’t obsessively check my email and I’m thoroughly convinced that the communities I belong to will go on without me (even if they’re just the tiniest bit less fun *grin*), so there’s nothing that makes internet access or cable television vital to my wellbeing. Then why was I so affected? I live with gamers.

One is thoroughly addicted to World of Warcraft and the other is an outright Xbox360 junkie—who doesn’t read—gasp! Neither of them knew what to do with themselves. My husband-like-person is the WoW addict, but he’s also an avid reader so he was able to adapt. He can also kick back and talk and just hang out, but our schedules are so different that he was stuck with his own thoughts and those of a morose fifteen year old boy who mourned the lack of Xbox360 like a dear friend and keeled over on the doorstop and gasped his last on our threshold. They did not fair well.

The Man counted down every day until the repairs would be done and he could set aside his thoughts of filicide, while the Boy counted each hour he was deprived of repeatedly shooting his friends to death in Halo 3—yes, not his enemies, his actual friends, I don’t get it either. Both looked forlornly at the computer and gazed upon the dark television and wondered when order would be brought back to the world. I watched, bleary-eyed from a 5:45 am shift and was thankful that there wasn’t one more thing I had to do after work but rest. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss it.

I hadn’t realized how much my daily rituals kept my day running smoothly on track allowing me to relax and just float on through. My mornings begin with a cup of lemon-honey tea and the weather channel so I can decide on my wardrobe choices and whether or not it’s worth tossing an umbrella in my bag despite the extra weight on my shoulder (I really need to clean that thing out, I carry way too much stuff). From there I catch up on the local news or the national interests with Good Morning America, The Today Show and The Early Show, flipping about to catch the best bits of all three while I wait for my bus to arrive. After work I come home, sign on, and begin the process of reading email, checking communities, doing research, and writing if I’m coherent enough to have it make sense outside of my head. Even when I’m doing all four things at once it’s a rather low-key time, an unwinding of the mind, a sloughing off of the day that helps me come back to myself. I’ve heard a great deal about the cyber-noise and visual pollution of all our gadgets and gizmos cluttering up our lives, but sometimes it’s the interaction with technology that becomes our quiet time of the day.

Do we NEED all the tech we have in my humble little domicile? No, we can certainly live with out it. Do I want it? Most definitely! There are just some things I would not want to live without and the internet is incredibly high on the list. In fact, when the zombie (vampire, superflu, alien) apocalypse finally comes, I deeply hope that the people who adjust satellites for a living and man the electric grids survive and are holed up at work to keep things going. I’m a beloved child of the Information Age and I wouldn’t disconnect for the world. That said, strolling down the Information Superhighway suits me better than barreling full throttle to destinations unknown. We need to be tuned in and aware but we don’t need to be saturated and bombarded, there’s a line and we crossed it long ago without a mile marker to give us notice…

What can you all do without? And what can you do better with just a little less of? *smile* Chime in with your own stories of tech failure or voluntary tech disconnect and how you and your family faired.

“Mmmm Tech Ramble” Done


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