Lets begin 2011 a bit more simply. This is a simple proposal to take back our in-between moments. Those once-solitary — or at least unmediated — moments that have been taken over completely by our phone, our texts, our e-mail, our feeds, and our apps. This is hopefully a tiny but permanent dent against the casual tyranny of pervasive connectedness, constant virtual stimuli and hyper distractedness. We owe it to our discombobulated selves.
Here’s my effort towards the balance: leaving my phone behind, if only for short periods at a time, when:
— Going to work meetings within walking distance of my house. New York City makes that particularly easy, especially depending on where you live and where your business meetings are (most of mine are around midtown area).
— Regular grocery run: Easy if you don’t make lists, but slightly more difficult if you do on the phone/list apps. One way to be disconnected on this would be to turn the airplane mode on. I have done it and it even saves time with fewer distractions, believe me.
— Going to the gym: You need to focus on your regimen anyway, don’t you? Like above, best to use your phone in airplane mode if you’re using it as a music player there.
— Going to my local prayer hall, a 15-20 minute affair at best. And you need silence inside the hall anyway.
— Adjunct to the above: Buy a watch, or use your old one lying around. Admit it: you don’t wear one these days, and use your phone more as a watch than anything else. On these short trips, you don’t need your phone for the time keeping.
— Related move: Get a Kindle. It is a lot more peaceful book reading device than your iPhone/iPad or any other more user-friendly connected device. Kindle makes it lot easier with its clunkiness.
— Taking more suggestion of other such short moments when you can leave your phone behind. Send them at my e-mail below, or tweet me back at @rafatali.
Pic: taken by me at Shelibost beach in Isle of Harris in Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in June 2010.
rafat AT rafat.org