31 January 2011

Disconnected

My phone died on Thursday night.

It wasn't one of those things I saw coming.  I was having trouble starting one of the programs on it, so I just did a hard shut down and then pressed the "On" button again.  It came on, but stopped between the manufacturer's screen and the carrier's screen.  You know, just in case you had no clue where you were spending your money.

Luckily I had some free time, so I ran over to my local store and even luckier, there was no line in the tech department there.  Anyone who deals with a phone store knows how rare that is.  The woman took a look at it, tried to do an alternate hard reset, but had no luck.

My Droid Eris was bricked.  Of course, it was out of warranty and I am only halfway through my contract.  This left me the option of buying a phone at full price or ordering a refurbished one to come in next week.  Being as I have no landline and two children, the idea of being without a phone for several days was not really something I thought would be good.  Then she also said if I had an old phone at home, I could switch over to that until my contract came up next year.  So, I raced home and went searching, and found my old LG VX8300.  This is an older flip phone.  No virtual keyboard, no apps.  It does have mobile web, but not a full browser and who wants to try to type URLs in with a numeric keypad?  But, it was a phone.  They switched it over for me, and now for the next year I will no longer have a computer in my pocket.

I work with the web for a living.  My job as a librarian is to work on webpages, library catalogs, and digital archives. From OverDrive to WorldCat Mobile to librarian chat services by text and email to ereaders, librarians are having to deal with patrons and technology on the front lines.  Being a librarian on the "back line", working for a network, when the library staff doesn't have answers, they come to me and the others I work with.  I also love gadgets and really enjoyed having an Android phone, an Apple iPod Touch, a Nook...all these things that library staff are needing to know more and more about as technology comes home hard to libraries.  I am used to being always connected.

But connection didn't always come from a screen in front of your face, or an new message in your email inbox.  It can come from saying hello while passing in the hallway, a hug from a friend you haven't seen in ages - or since yesterday.  It can come from your parent calling you to check how you are doing, or writing a note to someone you care about, or bringing cookies to work.  Connection came in personal action, and didn't always have immediate gratification.  That was okay, and so is this.  I am not the most patient person, and admittedly I have a Touch so I can have portable contact, but still limited to wi-fi hotspots and not 24/7.

Will I find that I have less technology distraction?  I won't be pulling my phone out of my pocket to see if I got an email or a tweet.  I won't have people look at me across the table while scrolling through my Reader.  I won't be woken up at 2 AM because an email came in and the phone is vibrating.   I could spend a little more time reading, or finishing my knitting, or choosing garden plants, or playing games with my niblets.

By disconnecting, I can reconnect.

4 comments:

  1. I've purposely avoided getting a smart phone for this reason, actually. It's one of the few places I can be completely disconnected. Sure, I can tweet, but it's by text (annoying). I can read tweets sent directly to me only. But it's no different than a normal text message.

    As much as we're all connected and attached to the digital cord, it's nice to have one place/one thing that's totally....not.

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  2. I love my smart phone, but sometimes I wish we could all just turn everything off for for a few days.

    The best days I've had were when I've been at conferences or retreats with my closest friends. Those I love are there, and we actually get to connect.

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  3. Whenever my phone would die (I, er, had to go through several replacements over the summer, as the refurb phones kept dying) I felt like I was missing a limb.

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  4. I have never had a smart phone, and I like that bit of disconnection.

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