Adventures in disconnectedness


“No!” I yelled helplessly at the small silver gadget in my hand. I shook it. Because shaking it made me feel like I was doing something to help. It wasn’t responding. I touched it to my forehead.

Work damnit, I was thinking to myself as I lightly tapped the shiny metal end to my forehead. Just this one time, please! You can do this! Please do this…for me? I must have officially lost it…I was begging. Pleading. But it had to work, right?

My desperation sickened me. I took the device from my forehead and held its candybar-shaped form tenderly in my hand. Nothing. My eyes closed tightly as the reality was quickly washing over me.

“I’m….I’m not ready!” My voice cracked as my hand started to tremble. The weight of the realization started to put pressure on my chest as I struggled to breathe. My heart raced as a very familiar feeling started growing in the pit of my stomach. The hair on my neck stood straight up. This was it, wasn’t it?

My head started to pound. My world started to spin. I reached out to my desk to steady myself.

You always think That’ll never happen to me – to someone else, sure – but not to me. But it was happening to me alright. Happening so fast there was no way to stop it. To fix it.

Friday, April 30 2010 was the day my beloved BlackBerry Pearl went to the proverbial technology recycling centre in the sky. And with no spare working phone in sight, it was this day that I started my adventures in disconnectedness.

Friday morning:

  • After drowning sorrow with a large coffee, I sit down at my desk in complete denial trying to Lazarus my phone back to life.
  • Thinking this still wasn’t right, I try another battery pull. And another. And another.
  • Over an hour later I’m trying yet another battery pull.
  • The anxiety sets in: no contacts, no calendar, no data.
  • Check my sites quickly on computer – news, social media, email. There was so much information to take in. Could I remember it all? I won’t have it to reference on the go today…maybe not even tomorrow. Or the next. I grab a tissue – my palms were getting sweaty.
  • Start emailing a friend regarding our trip to Buffalo the next day. Someone needed the directions to my house but I didn’t have their info. Please get them to contact me – I can’t BBM them. THE HORROR.

Friday afternoon:

  • Finally hear from my friend regarding the Buffalo trip. Takes a few emails to organize a meeting time (8 am) and place (my place) for pick up so our driver only needs to make one stop. This would have been so much easier if I could just BBM him and add him to my Google Latitude so I knew if he got lost he could find me. It’s not big deal, I remind myself. It’s just a phone. Right…and the Grand Canyon’s just a big fricking hole.
  • Am meeting my friend Renee after work. Realize I don’t have Renee’s number as the BB took that info with it to the other side. (Note: my other address book is on personal computer at home) Emailed both the addresses I had for Renee in my Outlook from work. Thank god I asked for her info and added it to my work Outlook prior to this catastrophe.
  • Am trying to arrange details of meeting over email – missing my BBM. Shakes resume. Palm sweats. It’ll be ok, I tell myself. We’ll try to find something this weekend to tie you over. Another phone – another hit.
  • Having hard time going through day without information. What is going on in the world? No more Facebook status updates to laugh at, tweets to send, witty jokes to make via SMS, or plans to schedule. I go for a walk to calm my nerves. Look like lost puppy in elevator as everyone checks their phones for news…and I wring my hands just to keep them busy.

Friday evening:

  • Email Renee that I’m leaving the office and am walking to meet her. Sketchy man starts following me on my walk. I walk faster. Suddenly feel very vulnerable without my phone. I mean I’ve got quite a set of lungs but somehow I think calling 9-11 if anything happens would be more efficient then me screaming like a bloody banshee. (I’m a bit jumpy…I’m sure he was a nice man. He probably thought I was the creepy one with how fast I was walking and how I kept looking over my shoulder every so often. Had no idea my phone was such a safety blanket!)
  • Realize 30mins into the walk I’m supposed to be there already…break out into a jog. I have no phone to tell Renee I’m running a little late…so I literally start running.
  • Show up sweating partly because it’s hot (and I’m wearing a leather jacket) and partly because I ran a good 5 Toronto-sized blocks in this heat. I’m sure it was also the withdrawl. I promptly order a drink.
  • Keep putting my hand in my pocket to check phone but it’s not there…it lays in pieces in my purse. For some reason I’m feeling phantom vibrations. Finally realized I have lost my marbles.
  • Renee is nice enough to have a spare phone for me to borrow – her old one. After a few drinks I head to her place to pick it up and thank her profusely. I may have even professed my love for her. Tough it out FishBoy. You’re gonna hafta share. ❤
  • Feeling weird in the evening – I have no contacts on my SIM to import and have programmed only the five numbers I think I’ll need over the weekend. No calendar as this particular phone only sync’s using Windows and I have a Mac. The rendering of sites is abysmal so I don’t even check the Internet. But funny story? I’ve never slept so well. 🙂

So what do I think? I hated it. It was hard…and strange. And quiet. Oh so very quiet…in a creepy kinda walking-through-a-cemetery-at-night-during-Halloween-towards-a-bunch-of-cackling-gravediggers-standing-around- a-big-hole-with-shovels-in-their-hands way. Did I also mention there’s fog in this cemetery? Too quiet.

But that being said it was also kind of nice. I didn’t have to check my phone every five minutes to find out why it was vibrating. I didn’t have to respond to people…heck people couldn’t even find me! I didn’t need to post a witty overheard…I could just enjoy it. I didn’t need to check-in to my location on FourSquare…I could just BE there without announcing it to anyone. Be anonymous.

So do you guys ever disconnect – whether it be on purpose or whether it be by accident as was my case? Did you like it? What were your experiences. What advice to you give others? Is there hope for any of us should we go into a technological dark ages and be forced to live sans cell phones because of a weird magnetic field that basically doesn’t allow us to use that technology? 😀

I have a crazy imagination I know…but still! Would you be able to survive the Magneto Ages?


6 Responses to “Adventures in disconnectedness”

  1. Great post! I know the feeling of chaos and helplessness that comes from loosing a phone and all your information. But I do like to disconnect every now and again (especially if I’m in the country where I don’t get internet or reception anyway).

    • Thanks Chantelle! I actually thought I’d try to disconnect for a wknd. Wld be good for me. I think the hardest part wasn’t the disconnecting as much as it was being forced into it. So wasn’t prepared for the plug being pulled that day! I’m glad you digital detox every now and again. I really should. I’ll let you know how my first one goes!

  2. 3 Alex

    Firstly, I’ve gotta say:

    >Tough it out FishBoy. You’re gonna hafta share.

    That’s my quote of the day, right there.

    I do try to unplug on occasion. It’s never fun when you’re forced into it, but the occasional break from communications technology does me good. That being said, I’m not nearly as plugged in as I could be.

    • It’s such a good idea to unplug every now and again. You’ve inspired me to try again. I guess it’s just hard to know how unplugged to be…what degree.

      How unplugged do you get? Do you leave your phone at home and only answer it when you’re home (As if it was a home phone). Is it still ok to check email? Once a day? Never?

  3. 5 Sean

    I went six months without a phone at all and it ease great. No one else’s urgent distracting me from my important. But I reached the limit of what I could get done without one so here I am rockin’ the Android. Still, it’s vital to put it aside here and there to think or if I’m really busy turn it all off – phone, gmail notifier, twitter, non-essential browser tabs – and put in a Power Hour. You’d be surprised at what you can get done in an hour without distraction. Being connected is a beautiful part of living in the modern age but it doesn’t, in and of itself, get the rent paid!

    • That’s a really great way to put it: No one else’s urgent distracting me from my important. I love it!

      Oh trust me – I know how good a Power Hour can be. Sometimes I need to be in my zone and ignore everything else…but sometimes having all those tabs open, the messages coming through triggers a different kind of productive. Something more creative…sometimes you get ideas from out of the blue you know?

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