So I’ve told a few people about this project and each time I’ve gotten one of two responses. 1. “That’s impossible” and 2. “You’ll never get through a whole week”. Which is fair. I am what you might charitably call “somewhat attached” to my technology. I always know where my phone is, whether the ringer is on, how long its been since I’ve texted someone waiting for a response. I’m never all that far from my email, in fact the other day at work I did an informal count and realized I either checked my email or thought about checking it fifty times during the course of my workday. Not my work email, my personal email. Fifty times. And don’t get me started on Facebook. I have this mental trigger thing that needs to know whether someone commented on my thing or liked my thing or liked my comment or shared my thing or tagged me in a post or a photo or liked my photo or mentioned me in a comment or any socially interactive thing that might involve me in some way and I need to know right now if it’s happening because…why exactly? I have no good answer for that. In a very real way it is an addiction, to the possibility that something might have happened in the past five minutes, that I might have garnered someone’s attention for just a moment, that I still exist and these repeated comments or thumbs up prove it.
So when my film class prof said he thought we were in a way already cyborgs because we’re so connected to our technology, at first I balked at the idea and then upon further thought I had to agree. I am attached to my phone. I am attached to the internet. The idea of disconnecting from those things makes me think of removing the breathing tube from a body on life support. It kind of terrifies me. But, since I like doing things that scare me, especially something like this where chances are good that I probably won’t die, I decided it would be a valuable thing to see what happens when I turn those things off.
For the next five days, I’m going to disconnect from technology, specifically my cell phone, computer and other electronic devices. No texting, no email, no Facebooking, no Twitter, no Tumblr. No existing online at all. I thought about going all 1900 House and eschewing technology entirely, including electricity, appliances, hot water, indoor plumbing, etc, but I think that’s a little too gimmicky. Yes, I could subsist on crackers and beef jerky all week, have some cold showers, roast in my non-air-conditioned house, wear the same underwear three days in a row, all in the name of science (!), but I think it gets closer to the point to just turn off the things that have changed the way we experience the world outside of ourselves. And I really like clean underwear.
Of course I’ll be documenting the whole thing, the good, the bad, the ridiculous. The overly dramatic. And a week from now I’ll let you know how it went. I’m sure this cold sweat I just broke into means everything is going to be fine…