Hot Topic #8: Slaves to Technology

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“Pretty much 100% of people are texting while driving and they’re killing everyone with their cars. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for 5 seconds.”

~Louis C.K.

Technology is an integral part of our lives. At times, it seems like we’re constantly surrounded by it – and it’s hard to get away from it.

I’m completely guilty of this. But I’m trying to be better.

Case in point: I realized, after the fact, of course, of how rude it was to have my laptop while we had company over during the 4th of July weekend. I was listening to the conversation, but I felt terrible afterwards. I also noticed that I wasn’t the only one. The phones were put away, for the most part.

What boggles my mind, is people who don’t communicate by way of conversation anymore.

A few examples:

  • Al and I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant back in June. While we were there, having a wonderful face-to-face conversation, five guys came in and sat a booth across from us. The only time any one of them looked up from their phones was when a server came to address them. They all sat there, staring at their phones, the entire time. I couldn’t stop staring.
  • Our friends Justin and Drew were at a restaurant in Richmond a while back. Two guys sat at the table next to them, diagonal from each other. As soon as their waiter left, these guys pulled out their phones, not making any spoken conversation, no eye contact, nothing. When they were leaving, Justin turned to Drew and said, “Do you know what I saw in there? Slaves to Technology.”

I’ve heard other stories – Some more horrifying than people sitting in a restaurant, not making conversation. I’m talking about texting while driving, and other distractions.

When I Googled “slaves to technology” – This is what I found:

Granted, both of these articles were published in 2013. However, in those two short years, people all around you, day after day, have proved that this is still true!

I couldn’t find the link, but I remember reading an article a week or two ago, a first-hand account of a mom and her husband. The mom, who is a blogger, discovered that her iPad was having a problem one night. Instead of picking up the phone and dialing Apple’s customer support, she and her husband found themselves scrambling, looking for the closest Genius Bar in the closest Apple store to their house. They used all their tech in the house, desperate for a quick solution. Finally, if I remember correctly, after hours of panic, the iPad problem was actually fixable in less than five minutes, with a simple command.

She reflected on that night with horror and disdain – She and her husband were so focused on clamoring for a solution to fix their tech problem, that they forgot about the simple things. They could have left the iPad alone for the night and decided to wait until the next morning to fix it. But, she said that this insistence on fixing this instrument RIGHT THEN was further proof of their addiction to technology.

I found the Louis C.K. quote in one of the articles I mentioned earlier. It’s so true. We are afraid of being alone.

Granted, I am guilty of having sent texts in the car before. But now, I have my phones either in my purse in my backseat, or in my passenger seat where they’re out of my reach. I don’t text anymore, unless I’m at a complete stop at a stoplight, and that’s only when I respond to someone else’s text. I try really hard not to pick it up AT ALL while driving. The only people I will normally answer a call from in the car is Al, either one of my parents, or if my bosses are calling. My dad takes it a step further, he always asks me if I’m eating, drinking something, or driving. If I answer “yes” to any of those three, he’ll always say to call back when I’m safe.

I actually like the solitude of being alone in my car. Sure, traffic can be terrible on my drives to and from work, but that’s what the radio and CDs are for. I’ve learned so much from listening to NPR more frequently, for example. I’ve relished in hearing brand-new songs on the radio stations more than once. I’m also one of those people that drum on the steering wheel and bob my head when I hear a favorite song, while belting it out at the top of my lungs. Knowing that Al and I are getting married in less than four months (!!) and we do plan on having children down the road (no pun intended), I know that my days of solitude in my Camry are numbered.

For me, I try not to be bound to technology. Part of it is because I work on a computer for my job – It is a constant in my career. Sure, I enjoy having an iPhone. Sure, I enjoy having a laptop. I have a Nook tablet as well.

There are days where I leave work and go to Al’s, and I just do not want to stare at another fucking screen. We normally eat dinner in front of the TV, and there are times where I just look at my food or want to talk to Al, more than looking at another damn screen.

I do have diagnosed eye strain – It’s why I can’t wear my contact lenses to work anymore, I have to use my glasses. And when I do wear my contact lenses, I have to be very careful with my screen time. My eyes do actually go into overload mode when I look at too many screens, and subsequently, my brain gets overloaded too.

But, beyond the eye strain, I think my brain craves non-tech things, like writing and reading. I love that Al gave me the tablet for my birthday several years ago, but I can’t read books on it. I use it for games and fashion magazines mostly, plus having a really convenient, lightweight way to access Wi-Fi, rather than lugging my laptop around. However, books will always be ink and paper for me, always. And as much as I like typing and writing on the computer, I enjoy writing in cursive, and do that every chance I can get.

I love disconnecting from the world too. Last summer, I went on a mission trip to North Carolina with my church. I left my iPhone at home and went seven hours west to towns that had minimal cell service. For a full seven days! It was WONDERFUL!

And I plan to do that again when I’m on my honeymoon in November – And I can’t wait!

I leave you with an article, aptly titled How To Not Be A Slave To Technology.

As for me, this weekend, I plan to disconnect again. I plan to turn off my iPhone and leave it at home, and head up to Doswell to thoroughly enjoy Kings Dominion with Al and amazing friends Katie, Brian, Mike, Justin, and Heaven. SO FUCKING STOKED!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

2 thoughts on “Hot Topic #8: Slaves to Technology

  1. Hi Laura! I just wanted to thank you for commenting on my blog and came to check out yours! I just read your most recent blog and the obsession with technology is a real issue. Technology can be great and a very useful tool but when it’s become an obsessive lifeline, then it’s original intention has failed. I really enjoyed reading about your opinion on this topic. I’ll be coming back soon to see what else you have written!
    Always, Marissa

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