Monday, September 25, 2006

Temporarily Unavailable

Yesterday I did something I almost never do.

I left my house and took my kids and did not take my cell phone.

Last week, my friend Boring Best wrote a post about cell phone use that really kind of hit home with me. Now, I have a cell phone mainly for three reasons: two kids, and the fact that I’m part of a family business. And although I have a land line, I find that I use my mobile more often to contact and be contacted. The difference is when we have a mobile phone we can always be found.

I know other people who don’t have cell phones. There’s probably something really smart about that. Like, occasionally being unavailable, which I almost never am.

Part of that is the way I am designed. I want the people I care about to be able to reach me, but I’ve become uber-available, kind of at the beck and call of the unknown, the whimsical, and the work related. At the same time, as Jim says in his rant, I know for certain that there are times I call people and they look at the phone with a dismissive “Oh.” Some people also are fond of the dramatic gesture of pulling out their phones to look at them, usually when someone is in the middle of a sentence. I don’t know what the point of this is. Maybe they don’t own a watch. Or, their phones are really pretty. Or they expect the winning lottery numbers to scroll across their caller ID screen just at that moment.

So yesterday was an experiment in making myself just a teensy bit unavailable, leaving a piece of technology behind because there really are times when being found is unnecessary. I’ll admit it is outside of my comfort zone. We all want to feel more needed than we really are, and at the heat of a search much of what happens, happens on the weekend, especially if you’re dealing with confidentiality or volunteer search committees. But since both of the most important people in my life were with me the whole time, what is a cell phone going to do for me? Do I need it in case one of us gets hurt? Bitten by a coyote? Kidnapped by aliens? Set on fire by bad boy scouts? With all the other people on the bike path with cell phones, and our resourcefulness as a family, I doubt we’d have any trouble finding help.

And what might I miss? With both kids with me, not very much. I’ll admit I worry more about the rest of my family than I used to, but if something is important, smart people will leave a message, unless it’s really bad news, and then they leave part of a message.

It really was a nice walk. I didn’t miss anything that wasn’t still there when I got back. I missed one call from a good friend who wholeheartedly supported my temporary liberation.

So if you’re under the spell of your cell, try taking a sabbatical every once in a while. Find ways to be out of touch, out of pocket, out of range.

Take it away, Roy.

Don't Fence Me In

Wildcat Kelly was lookin' mighty pale
Standin by the sheriff's side
When that sheriff said I'm taking you to jail
Wildcat raised his head and cried

Oh give me land lots of land under starry skies above
Don't fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open spaces that I love
Don't fence me in

I want to be by myself in the evening breeze
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don't fence me in.

Just turn me loose and let me wander
over yonder where the purple mountains rise
On my kayoose let me straddle my old saddle
underneath the western skies

I want to ride to the range when the west commences
Howl at the moon 'til I lose my senses
I won't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in


At September 26, 2006 1:33 PM, Blogger My Boring Best said...


Thanks for the props. And, cool experiment you had there. I'll have to try that myself. (Gotta admit, it is kinda scary not having a phone on you at all times.)

Tell the kids Jim says, "hello." Oh, heck with that. Tell them Jim says, "One hundred and nine gigawatts to the sixteenth plexi-bobble." That'll confuse 'em.



At September 26, 2006 7:32 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Howdy, Jim--

Yeah, it was kind of nice, but takes a little getting used to. Kind of sad, I think.

I'll give the kids your message, but what worries me is they won't be confused at all...!

Peace out,

At September 27, 2006 1:58 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

I'll try the cell-phone sabbatical, but it'll have to be after election day...


At October 01, 2006 6:20 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey you! I hope the candidate is doing well. Maybe I'll get down there in a couple of weeks -- I have a couple of short people who'd be willing to canvas!

I hope your birthday was more year, I hear...



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