Aaron Gouveia is going to have to say ‘tech.’ But don’t tell his wife.
I recently read Tom Matlack’s piece “Stillness,” in which he gives up all manner of technology for five whole days while on vacation with his family. I have to say, I was pretty impressed. And completely horrified.
I am completely dependent on my laptop and hopelessly tethered to my Droid Incredible. I wouldn’t have admitted that a week ago, especially not around my wife who has been getting increasingly annoyed at my smartphone love affair. I would’ve argued I was in control. I was totally capable of giving it all up cold turkey. I just didn’t NEED to, so, therefore, it was a moot point. My wife just shook her head. And then she set out to prove a point.
We were driving around Cape Cod last week, me behind the wheel and MJ in the passenger seat. I have a specific way of wedging my phone in the center console so it faces me and I can check incoming emails, tweets, and Facebook messages. But when I conducted my 90-second check of the phone, my heart sank.
It was gone.
“My phone’s gone. Where’s my phone?” I asked in a far too panicked voice for such a mundane situation. MJ calmly pulled it out of her purse and held it in her hand, but said nothing. When I reached for it, she pulled her hand away.
“What the hell are you doing? Give me my phone!” I barked.
She told me she wanted me to go without it until we arrived at our destination—45 minutes away. MJ reminded me of my claims that I could give it up at any time. At least I think that’s what she said. I’m not sure because I was breaking out in a cold sweat and immediately going through withdrawals. The whole time she was talking I was mesmerized by the blinking green LCD light informing me I had a message waiting for me. But what was it? A text? Tweet? A missed call? An email from work or a company pitching me something cool? Did I have a new Facebook friend? Maybe my Klout score rocketed up and landed me with the cool kids.
That phone is an extension of my body and I ALWAYS have it with me. I know the feel of it in my pocket and I could (but never would) tweet while doing 75 mph on Route 95 in heavy traffic. And without it, I felt awful. Incomplete. Technologically naked. And EXTREMELY agitated.
Just when I was about to lose it, my wife stopped me dead in tracks by dropping a bombshell on me.
“Which would you rather do: Go three days without any technology or a month without sex?” she asked.
My wife is hot. Way too beautiful to have married me. And without going all TMI on you, she’s no slouch in the aforementioned intimacy area. Which makes my idiotic answer to that question even more shameful.
Yup, that’s right. I’d rather go a month without sex.
Because the thought of being separated from my phone, my computer and the Internet for 72 consecutive hours is absolutely terrifying. It’s too much to bear. I’d freak out and lose my mind. You have to understand I use the phone constantly. If I see something interesting or my son does something cute, I take a picture. Then I share it on Twitter and Facebook. If I need to talk to someone quickly I text or call them. And my emails—good lord, my emails. If I couldn’t check work and personal emails anytime I needed to, I’d go friggin’ nuts. Plain and simple.
And while a month without sex sucks, I’ve done it before. Most new parents are accustomed to such a drought, especially in the months after the baby is born. Hell, I commute two hours to work each day so there’s barely time to play with my son, nevermind get busy.
I know some people say it’s healthy to unplug for awhile and recharge the batteries. And I respect that. I’m an outdoorsy guy who loves camping, hiking, sports, etc. But I take my phone with me because I don’t want to unplug. I can pay attention to my loved ones and live up to my family responsibilities while toting my Droid around with me. I’d even go so far as to argue having that cell phone makes me a better dad and husband because I’m not worrying about what I’m missing.
Oh well. According to my cell phone I only have two weeks, five days and 13 hours to go.
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