This past weekend my wife and I decided to plan a romantic day. We found a babysitter, made some hasty lunch plans at a local sea-food restaurant and planned on enjoying a nice quiet afternoon with no kids, no baby and a strict rule of not discussing any aspect of child care. Not one.
By habit, I carry my cell phone everywhere. I don’t even take a shower unless my cell is within reach on the towel rack, just in case the President might call and want my personal opinion on his foreign policy. I call it being prepared, my wife calls it paranoia.
So naturally I take my Crackberry PDA/ cell/ walkie-talkie/GPS receiver with me on our romantic escape to the Blue Ocean restaurant, which in hind sight was a bad, bad move. I got a call from a psychiatrist that just finished doing a evaluation on one of our kids the previous week. Why she was calling on a Saturday I’ll never know, but I felt I needed to take the call. 30 minutes into the conversation I happened to glance over at my wife who was waiting for me to finish up the conversation so we could order. I knew I was in trouble by the gleam in her eye and the way she was gnawing on the last hush-puppy.
The rest of the day that we were off and free of kids was filled with talking about the kids and different projects that we are involved in surrounding kids. Sometimes it’s impossible to disconnect from being a HP when your off. It’s almost like trying to stop thinking about your own kids when they go to Grandmas for the weekend, your glad for the break, but you still wonder and talk about them.
Having to much technology also makes it rather hard to unwind. My office, for example, would make mission control at NASA jealous. They would laugh at my Macintosh, but I’m sure they would find all of the other gadgets rather impressive. I have two printers, and about 10 different USB devices that make pretty green flashing lights. It’s like having Christmas tree lights on all year long.
My Blackberry cell phone has a walkie-talkie that keeps me and my wife in constant touch. I also get my emails “Instantly”. No more having to wait for my junk mail. My calendar is synced with at least two other computers on campus and alarms go off every time I need to dispense meds, wether I’m on or off duty. If I need to drive somewhere I turn the GPS on and drive off into the sunset with my satellite radio cranked up.
My portfolio is loaded down with two different calendars (In case the Crackberry dies), treatment plans, medical info, budget spreadsheets and one serious cast iron ruler that doubles as a sword should anyone get out of line in a meeting.
I have somehow convinced myself I need all of this stuff to survive. Between tracking kids, working on opening another group home, blogging, meetings, church commitments and trying to start a website I have streamlined my schedule, but have scheduled every waking moment devoted to some sort of task. So much for my dream of doing nothing.
I’m not alone. Fifteen years ago, very few people carried a cell. If you had to talk to someone while you were out, you just had to stop at a gas station and use a pay phone. Somehow our society managed and thrived without cell phones, PDA’s, email GPS units and Microsoft Office.
We are at a place now where most people don’t even have to go to a store and shop for music, they download it from home. I can’t even imagine where we will be at in 5 years with technology.
I am going to try to start unplugging. I’m still trying to decide which stuff is a must have for day-to-day life. If my wife gets her way I’m sure the Crackberry will be the first to disappear. -Launch