Letter From New York October 5, 2009

Or, as it seems to me…

The weekend was spent curled up, for the most part, at the cottage, rain falling, the yard slowly littering with leaves, watching back episodes of Mad Men [without a doubt one of the finest television dramas ever], doing a little reading, some straightening up and, as best I could, ignoring the fact I had left the power block for my laptop at the office…

I spent the weekend digitally deprived, basically cut off from the broadband universe I so heavily rely upon, only using the computer on battery power for absolute necessities…paying bills that were due, responsible things, not for the fun things I normally do like surfing through HULU looking for some video to watch, or writing my weekly missive. Or, on the task side, taking care of the work that I had put off saying – I can handle that on the weekend.

Digital disengagement was not liberating. I thought perhaps it might be – ah, I could spend the time I would be working on the computer doing things I don’t always have time to do – read more, for example. The reality is that I have become dependent upon my ability to interact digitally with the world – or even with myself. My journal resides on the desktop of my laptop. I keep my checkbook balances on an Excel spreadsheet, my addresses are organized in my Entourage, my calendar – almost all the bits and pieces of my life are on my laptop which is why backing up is almost a religious ritual.

Oh sure, I had my iPhone and it wasn’t the same and it wasn’t enough. I can’t really type on my iPhone – it’s great for short emails and it was great because that way I wasn’t cut off, completely. But I missed my full functionality, missed being able to type out my thoughts, missed being able to surf the Internet unfettered by the constraints of a smaller screen and a slower connection. I missed my bigger screen.

In other words, I am tethered to my electronics in ways I only think about when I am not able to exercise what seems to me to be my constitutionally guaranteed right of web access. In other words, I am a man of the 21st century, a man who is electronically dependent and geared toward utilizing those electronic devices to define and refine his life.

Wired. That is what I am, a wired person. And because this wired person was without his computer, he did not get to write his weekly blog. I attempted to put some thoughts to paper, long hand. My handwriting has deteriorated to something that would cause the nuns who shaped my penmanship heartburn. I sometimes have trouble reading it. It is embarrassing to go back to notes from a meeting and realize you have no idea what a certain word is because it is so badly written. I am embarrassed when I think of it which, most of the time; I don’t because I don’t need to read my own writing that often. I do so much of it on my laptop.

So this is what has happened to me. I am so dependent on having my laptop I am not very capable of workarounds. I am a man of the 21st Century; I am a digitally dependent chap who finds it difficult to cope without his digital devices so much so that it brings my life to a minor halt. Am I unusual or am I just like everyone else? Probably not just like everyone else.

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One Response to “Letter From New York October 5, 2009”

  1. Desiree Says:

    It is amazing how digital cadets and devices control our lives now! Granted I was born 1985 and grew up in the digital age. By the time I was 7, using a computer was life for me. I am 24 now and I couldn’t imagine life without my laptop and cell phone. I am always connected to the digital world (unless I am asleep of course).

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