On Monday, my cell phone died. Despite my best efforts, it remained dead. Luckily, I still had my old phone (which had sustained some water damage that has apparently miraculously healed after a year and a half in dry storage, so all I had to do, theoretically, was have the cell phone company switch my number back to my old phone, and I was back in business.
Has anyone else noticed what a wide rift is between theory and reality?
Turns out the company had to send me a new SIM card for the old phone, which would take 3-5 days to arrive. I should have just bought a cheap new phone and had them activate it (which ironically could have been done almost instantly because it's new). But I didn't. I had three days without a phone.
Well, I got home from work today and my SIM card had arrived! I have to admit, that was fast, even though it took way too long, obviously. :) I called them Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon it was delivered. They were swamped with calls when I called to activate it, so I was on the phone for over an hour, but at long last everything was set up and I had a working cell again.
The downside is, I lost most of my numbers and a lot of sentimental texts and pictures - texts from Robin as she was in labor (yeah, that's my best friend - texting while delivering!), the text I got when Khy was born, his first tooth, etc. And tons of pictures of Robin, Khy, and Abigail. Most of these I think I uploaded and are somewhere in my email account, but I know I've lost a few forever unless my phone decides to have a miraculous resurrection (which has been known to happen, but I'm not holding my breath).
Anyway, I was without a phone for 72 hours, and it made me realize how much I treasure my technology. I hear of folks all the time who long to unplug, who resent the "intrusion" into life that technology makes possible. I couldn't disagree more. I have reached for my phone a million times in the last few days to text my best friend and ask, how was your day today? is Khy taking steps yet (cuz, I mean, I've seen the pictures - this kid's gonna be a track star by the time he's 1!)? how's school going? I saw something you'd like... and I couldn't. We got to chat through Facebook one day but that was pretty much it.
My grandfather has been in the hospital (prayers, please) with fairly serious health problems, and I've had a few moments over the last few days where I just felt like I needed to get to a phone, fast, and make sure everything was ok with everyone I love.
People who feel like technology creates problems - are you sure you aren't using technology to create problems? If I need some space, I turn the phone off. If I don't want to talk, I send the call to voicemail (lest anyone who has left me a voicemail message wonder if I just ignored them, I will say in my defense that I've used this move only half a dozen times in my cell-phone-career, and usually because I didn't recognize the number and didn't feel like dealing with telemarketers). Emails don't have to be replied to today, I can blog when and as often as I choose, and if I don't like to read someone's Facebook status updates or tweets, I just take them off my feed.
I've come to realize in the last few years that while I'm certainly not laid-back, I'm definitely not into the drama. Or, let me rephrase that - there's so much drama that I HAVE to deal with, or that genuinely drives me insane, that I just have no room left for elective drama. People who get into hatefests at work? Seriously? What do you think you're accomplishing by airing your feelings to all? And those folks who post little snipes about marital woes on Facebook... grow up. It's not that I don't care about you and your issues - chances are that if you're on my friends list, I do care about you and all that is in your life. But posting it for the world to read looks makes you look less like a to be pitied martyr and more like a angsty 14 year old.
On the other hand, technology has brought great blessings into my life. I used to be part of an online writer's club that helped shape me into a writer and gave me some very rich friendships, several of which have spilled over into me "real" life. When my best friend moved from Maryland to Alabama, it was back in the days when you paid for each cell phone minute but got free minutes after a certain time at night (yeah, those days) and we waited anxiously for that time so we could stay connected. When texting became mainstream and afforable, it was a godsend.
I was able to share, albeit in a small way, Khy's birth day thanks to texting, Facebook updates, and picture messaging. I was 600 miles and three states away, but I knew when he'd been born, how much he weighed, what he looked like.
I love that randomly throughout the day, my phone will buzz, and there'll be a message from Robin saying, "Miss you/how was your day?/how's Abby?" And I love getting pictures of Khy. :)
In short, I think technology is a tool, just like any other, and whether it creates good or bad is basically up to the person wielding it. I know in my life it has enabled me to stay close to those I love - and for those of you who are going to scream, "But you lack REAL CONNECTION!!!" (yeah, I heard you) - again, this is a matter of choice. I've been to Alabama three times in the last six months, and will go down again more times before the year is out. Our "connection" is just as strong in real life as it is through texts. When my college friends are home, we love nothing more than to get together for dinner and debate and discuss all sorts of issues; in the meantime, when they're away, a Facebook status update lets me sense when someone is having a bad day and offer a word of encouragement, and a text message shares prayer requests. I have a mentor whom I like to write emails to, which gives her time to pray and think over the advice she'll give me when we're face to face.
As for me - technology is here to stay, and I'm sooo glad. :)