The Great Untethering

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Exactly how plugged in are you?

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Last week I read about a restaurant in NYC that will give you 5% off if you give up your cell phones.  The waiter comes to the table, you hand them over, and just like that you and your dining companion are officially untethered.  You are free.

A young married couple was interviewed after dinner to find out how it went.  They thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, that of course (of course!) they could do it, that it might even be nice to focus on each other and their conversation.  The dinner took about 90 minutes.  Here’s what they had to say:

~ The lulls in the conversation felt painfully long.  It seemed like an especially long time between the salad and entree.

~  What if their daughter was calling and needed something?  Or worse?

~ When the husband went to the bathroom, the wife realized she had no idea what to do with herself.  Where to look, what to do with her hands.  She felt exposed, so “alone,” like people were staring.

~  The wife found herself getting angry.  If she could just read through some emails now, a few minutes here and there, she would have more time for her daughter when she got home.  Right?  Right?!?!

~  The husband felt like the first half hour or so was fine, but that was about his limit.  It was hard to focus on their conversation.  He was worried about all the work “piling up” as he sat there “doing nothing.”

~ They started worrying about, and talking about, their phones.  What had the waiter done with them?  Had either of them seen exactly where he’d put their phones?  What if they got mixed up with someone else’s?

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I don’t know about you, but I’d bet I’m so plugged-in

I don’t even realize how plugged-in I am. 

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Starting at 5 pm today, for the next 48 hours I’m going to completely untether myself.  And I’m not going on vacation to do it.

I’ll be in my normal routine with no TV, no internet surfing, no email obsessing, no texting, no blog-reading, no Facebook, no Words With Friends, no car radio, no talking on the phone.

Is this even possible?  Is it??

If I survive, I’ll be back later this week to let you know how it went.  Oh boy, where’s the comfort food?  I feel a whole lot of eating coming on.

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14 thoughts on “The Great Untethering

  1. schietree

    Such an interesting experiment – though I have to say for myself that I always feel unmoored if I’m left to my own devices in a public place. Hence the need to take a book with me. Hiding behind a much older form of technology there.

    1. Teri Post author

      This will be (oh my god) interesting to say the very least. I’m already kind of panicked. Kind of like saying you’re going to write a book — it sounds fine until you actually sit down to do it, until that big blank page presents itself.

  2. jpon

    Good luck with the experiment. If you make it through 48 hours, let’s hope you don’t overcompensate by watching 24 straight hours of “Friends” the next day.

  3. lisahgolden

    This is coming to you after 5pm. I’m not untethered, but I am so much less connected right now. I kind of like it.

    Wishing you the best and I hope you find that you like those voices in your head. (That’s me projecting on to you.)

  4. macdougalstreetbaby

    As long as you don’t start twitching, you’ll be fine. Quiet time is so very good. I wish I could bottle it.

  5. Jennine G.

    Good luck! I sooo wish I had read this before you started! I wouldve told you to look up the book “The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale,” by Susan Maushart. Would be an appropriate read over the next 48 hours, huh?!

  6. Lyra

    I look forward to hearing how this went and if you found an insane amount of additional hours in the day.
    I think I was born for it. The less the technology is there, the less I miss it. If you tell me you finished your book in the last two days, I’m next.

  7. Downith

    I’ll be in my normal routine with no TV, no internet surfing, no email obsessing, no texting, no blog-reading, no Facebook, no Words With Friends, no car radio, no talking on the phone.

    Teri, I just sort of did this although not intentionally. No internet at the cottage in Northern Ontario – it was bliss!

    Look forward to hearing how you did.

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