I am not proud of my addiction to technology. Specifically, I loathe my electronic tether to my Blackberry. Aesthetically, it endears me with its lavendar color, tiny little buttons and familiar icons. I find myself drawn to it. Even when I have no messages or texts, I like to hold it in my hand. Feel its weight. Even Obama was so attached to his Blackberry, he practically wrote a new law saying that presidents could have them. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning when I wake up (it’s my alarm clock, as well as my touchstone).
And it’s gone.
I’m embarrassed that when I went to the Verizon store today and showed the salesperson my coffee drenched Blackberry, and he told me it would cost $450 to buy a new one, I cried. I cried like my toddler being told “You can’t have it.” I mostly cried for my own stupidity. How could I have not bought the insurance? It seemed like a rip-off at the time I was signing up for the service that already added an extra 40 dollars a month to my bill with web browsing and unlimited texting.
I’m not good with nice things. I ruin them. I’m klutzy by nature and careless by nurture. Today, I threw my beloved Blackberry into my work bag with a travel coffee mug I was SURE was empty. Apparently, there were a few drops that found their way into my precious phone. When I fished it out of my bag, it was hot from being fried. Hot to the touch. My heart sank because my carelessness resulted in a loss of something that was dear to me. I can’t afford to replace it.
Aside from being unable to afford it financially, I feel like I don’t deserve to get something brand new to replace something that I should have taken better care of. I feel like I need to learn a lesson here. I’m always lecturing my students about actions and consequences, so here is where I live my words.
Oh, but it hurts.
When I told Odie, “I ruined my phone,” there was a second where his face betrayed his initial reaction of “You really pulled a ‘Mrs. Odie’ this time.” He quickly replaced it with compassionate feelings, and argued with me when I told him I wanted to write on my blog that the first thing he thought was “Of course you ruined your phone, you jackass.” I insisted that his face told me that he was fitting this incident into a larger pattern of behavior on my part, but he counters that I’m projecting that, and what I really saw was his selfish “Oh NO! This is going to be expensive!” (you jackass).
Odie adamantly denies any feelings of condemnation of me or my actions. I suppose it’s possible that I am projecting that. I judge myself far more harshly than I judge anyone else, and if you’ve read the way I judge other people, well then, you can imagine what I’m in for.
I’ve decided to take this as an opportunity to cut my electronic leash. My Blackberry gave me my emails instantly, showed me Facebook updates, and delivered comments from my blog. I used it to check my blog stats a few times a day, and send text messages to my husband and sisters when I probably should have been paying more attention to the people I was in the room with right then. It has made me less patient by feeding my desire for instant gratification.
“Instant gratification takes too long!” Postcards from the Edge
A former student of mine who goes to UC Santa Cruz takes the time to have coffee with me whenever she is in town. During our most recent visit, I was particularly excited to talk to her, because I hadn’t “seen her on Facebook” in many months. She told me she had taken a break from it, and as a result had spent her time talking to people, going on adventures, and connecting in a more real way. She pronounced it amazing. The teacher becomes the student.
I work with people I haven’t seen in weeks. They know what’s going on in my life because I update my Facebook status. What if I walked up a flight of stairs during lunch, poked my head into Ms. Chan’s classroom, and asked her how she was doing, instead of clicking her Facebook profile? One of my closest friends works in the classroom across the hall, and I literally haven’t seen her face in a week. Don’t get too alarmed if I sound all “Carpe Diem” and shit (because Dead Poets Society is a bit too precious for me and I’ve always rolled my eyes at the whole “suck the marrow” scene), but I think that this Blackberry incident has the potential to push me toward a more authentic life.
Until Christmas, of course, when Odie goes on Ebay and finds me an affordable replacement.
Ever since I wrote an essay here on my blog contemplating God’s active participation in the minutia of our lives, I’ve received a bit of proselytizing about Jesus and such in the comments, so let me just nip THAT in the bud and say I don’t believe Jesus spilled coffee on my Blackberry to help him “see my heart.” I just think He has more important things to do than be involved in my wireless plan. I don’t think that’s what they mean when they say “God has a plan.” And I don’t think he’d go with Verizon. He seems more like an “Apple guy.” Oh! Maybe that’s the lesson here! God wants me to get an Iphone.
I’m going to be more present in my life. It drives me nuts as an instructor that my students can’t put their phones down for the 56 minutes I’m trying to teach them something. I used to have a principal who couldn’t sit through a conversation with anyone without looking at his phone while you were talking to him. It made me feel unimportant. I don’t want to make others feel that way. Especially not my child.
Because I have a child, I must have a phone. I shelled out my stupid tax of $109.00 to purchase a bottom of the line cell phone with no internet and no full keypad. Just a bare bones phone I can use to make and receive emergency calls. As of now, I’m five hours into Blackberry detox, and doing fine.
Stay tuned… I bloom, I bloom, I bloom…