I had a meeting this morning. I was running early (not the scary part), so rather than meeting at the mall, I suggested that we meet across the street. At the mall I would have had to wait for an hour for the coffee chain to open (not the scary part). Across the street, I was able to order immediately.
I wrote for awhile, in a very scattered way, unable to make one coherent list (not the scary part). My friend showed up. We talked.
I headed for the hospital (not the scary part).
I called our office to find out the name of the wife of the man I was supposed to be visiting. We talked about lunch for the whole staff. We often eat together on Thursdays (not the scary part). I agreed to pick it up.
At the registration desk, I discovered that the man I was going to visit had been released yesterday. So I headed across town to another hospital, another person or two to visit. I arrived and discovered that someone that was supposed to be released yesterday was still in (not the scary part). I also discovered that my cell phone battery was dead (not the scary part).
I spent some time with one man, and didn’t interrupt the therapy session of the other man. I called back to the office to find out where to pick up the food. They sent me to Chick-fil-a at the mall (not the scary part).
While I was driving away from the hospital, I noticed an odd feeling in my chest (the scary part).
It’s not what you think. It’s not anything wrong with my heart, at least not my physical heart. What I noticed, however, is that I began to feel some stress, which, upon reflection, was due completely to being away from a phone and a computer for a whole morning.
And that is terrifying, that feeling is the scary part.
- I was afraid that I would miss a call from my family. There is no crisis, but we stay in touch and there is a little stress at work for Nancy right now.
- I was afraid that I would miss arrangements about lunch, that someone would need to change something.
- I was afraid that I would miss email or comments or some contact from friends.
What scares me is that these aren’t things to be afraid of. These responses are symptoms of a break in the constant connectedness I and many people I know and love have. This isn’t about just being online. Notice that some of the connectedness is to the people I kissed goodbye this morning and would hug at the end of the day. Some of the connectedness is to the people I would see in 60 minutes and the fear is about lunch.
What scares me is that I talk about wanting time to think, time to be quiet…and when I was given it, it made me twitchy rather than together.
I know. I was working in a very unstructured way, talking to people in the middle of serious issues. There ought to be stress from that, you say. But I do that all the time. It was the disconnect that is disconcerting.
The simple answer is, of course, to make the most of family time this holiday weekend. And I will as we drive 12 hours into northern Wisconsin and back again. The simple answer is to take tech sabbath. The simple answer is to examine my need to please which is amplified by the ability to connect.
But I’m not sure this is a simple answer thing. And I’m not sure that’s it’s just me.
So what do you think? (Not about me, that’s too scary). But what about you? How twitchy do you get when the phone goes dead, when the wifi isn’t available?
How hooked are you on the connect?