With no more out of service, self-control a must
I’ve decided that I’m just too connected. Something must be done.
It starts with my “smart” phone. The computer inside this thing is more powerful than every computer I’ve had except the last two. The abacus/computer that sits on my desk at home takes days to do what this thing does in seconds.
And you can always get a signal. There is a cell tower every couple of miles from one end of this country to the other. On a western bike trip about five years ago, our cell phones were useless. Almost the entire cross country route had zero service. Then just a couple of years ago on a similar trip, I could check my emails in the middle of nowhere.
Last September, I visited the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, deep in the Canadian wilderness. We spent three days getting into remote Sarah Lake, which we had all to ourselves.
But we did have a satellite or “sat” phone for emergencies. So here I am, many miles from any semblance of civilization, sitting on prehistoric rock gazing down into a channel in the lake where earlier we had seen what seemed to be a similarly prehistoric snapping turtle the size of a wheelbarrow and I’m chatting with my wife, asking her how her day had been just as if I were calling home from work.
I’m guilty of texting and checking emails every few minutes throughout the day. I’ve yet to write this column on my phone but the day is coming.
Maybe it shouldn’t be called a phone anymore. “Personal Assistant” seems more appropriate and you don’t have to pay benefits.
Although I haven’t figured out Twitter, I am a Facebook addict. I start and end my day by checking for messages, texts, or emails.
The world has just gotten too intimate.
What finally convinced me that I need to change, maybe to disconnect, is that for the first time in many years, I have favorite television programs. If you know me well, that will surprise you. I’m pretty much TV-illiterate.
Some friends were recently talking about how awesome the television show Homestead is and I had never even heard of it. I can honestly say I’ve never watched any of the 14 or so shows with the acronym “CSI” in the name.
The list of TV shows that I have followed faithfully is short. MASH. West Wing. Ummmm ... that’s about it. I could honestly not tell you when any single show was on TV except the 6 o’clock news. I guess I’m a bit of a snob but I’ve always worked obscene hours that never left much time for TV.
Not anymore. I’m watching enough TV these days that I’ve got favorites. Like Restaurant Impossible. And Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives. Swamp People? I could listen to Troy for days. And The Voice — maybe the most superficial display of average singers ever televised (no, I have never seen American Idol or America’s Got Talent) — and I watch it regularly.
So, as part of my 3-Step Recovery Program from Connectivity, I’m gonna cut back. I’m going to leave my cell phone on the counter or in my truck for some period of every day. I’m going to ignore TV shows that lack substance or true entertainment value. I pledge to check in to Facebook no more than once a day.
But I might have to check out Duck Dynasty first.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (email@example.com)