Who is the servant? The technology, or the person who owns it? The phone rang one morning while I was in the middle of painting. I have only one special ring and it is for my husband. This was not that ring. I considered stopping what I was doing but that would mean not having enough time to finish my painting. It might also mean that my phone got covered in paint.
I don’t have the kind of life where people have to get in touch with me every second of the day. It is important to me that I have my life like that. If people are having an emergency they can call 911, not me. I am not a manager and I am not a parent. I am not a caregiver to anyone. I am not anyone’s AA sponsor. I believe each person should take care of themselves and not have emergencies that I have to take care of.
So when the phone rang my instinct was to jump up and get it, just because society tells us we should do that. But thankfully I ignored it. Training can be broken. How many of us think that we have to jump the moment the phone rings? If we are driving we feel like we have to answer it. Or we feel like we have to answer that text. The phone rules us, not the other way around.
There was a lady who was changing at the Y and her phone kept going off with texts. She looked very frustrated. Every time she would reply, her friend would reply, and then she would have to reply again. I said to her “Just put it down.” But she said “No, if I don’t answer immediately they begin to worry.” I said “Tell them you are changing at the Y and it can wait.” There is a no-cellphone policy in the changing room but either people don’t think the policy applies to them, or they are slaves to their phone. They don’t get that they can turn it off. We don’t have to be connected all the time.
Perhaps we are addicted to our technology. While our cellphones makes life easier, in a way, they have made life more difficult. While they have in theory made us more connected to each other, they have made our lives more disconnected and we are more disconnected from ourselves.
Is this what we want? Who is in charge, the technology or us? We have to decide it is okay to turn our phones off. You don’t have to have it on while you’re driving. You don’t have to discuss all of your life’s business while you are walking through Walmart. We did just fine before we had cellphones, and we’ll do just fine again without them. If the technology isn’t serving you, then you are the servant.