I am marrying a tech geek. He went to school for this. His job revolves around wires and computers. He loves this stuff.
I recently saw an app for your phone that will use the camera to put an image of what is in front of you on the background of the texting screen, so you don’t run into things while you walk. http://www.cracked.com/article_19820_5-ways-your-nerd-gadgets-are-killing-you.html. Seriously? Somebody had to invent an app because people couldn’t be bothered to watch where they were going? When we began to date, Aussie had his phone constantly on him. W would go out for milkshakes at 3am, and he’d bring his phone, just in case somebody needed to talk to him. At 3 am. “What if there is an emergency?!” he’d say. At 3am. When his family was asleep. When his friends were out drinking. And, even if there was an emergency, I didn’t think he was the 1st call on anyone’s list, except maybe mine. And, to be honest, he isn’t even the first on my list, because he is never home! He does me no good in an emergency. He’s second, my mom is under strict orders to call him, but, really, if I’m hurt at 3am, he won’t know about it for quite awhile.
I believe, one day, we were talking over dinner, and he had his phone out, checking the news, replying to work emails. And, I commented, “I wish I would have brought something, so I wouldn’t have to be bored while you talk.” It would be rude for me to pick up a book and start reading in the middle of someone’s sentence, but almost no one thinks twice about picking up their phone to check that text while you talk to them. And, honestly, it is rude. Almost nobody is SO important that this text MUST be answered, RIGHT NOW. If it is something and an emergency, most people will call. He’d say “well, what about work?!” I said, that first of all, he does have weekends off, he’s allowed. Second, he has to fly out for work, if they need him, an extra 30 minutes really isn’t going to make a huge difference in that 8 hour commute to work.
So, finally, the big day. The day we drove to the grocery store and he left his cell phone on the night stand for those 30 minutes, on purpose. I don’t think calling him a nervous wreck was unfair. He had phantom vibrations. We got home and the first thing he did was rush to his phone to check it. But, I didn’t complain because he left it home, and that was the goal. Over time, he gradually left the phone home a little more at a time. And, eventually the ipad was left home more and more often as well.
The funniest thing happened. He relaxed. He quit stressing over work. He quit letting his phone be his keeper. He didn’t pull his phone out of his pocket in the middle of a date just to see what time it was. It stopped mattering as much. The change in his attitude has been almost unbelievable, and even he has noticed that he really was never getting any downtime, because work was always able to get a hold of him, no matter the time or day. In an effort to save money,
I told Aussie, I would like a prepaid cell phone. We have a house phone, and I very rarely used my cell phone as it was, I didn’t NEED to check facebook all day, and I certainly didn’t need to spend $100/month to do so. Not only that, but, everyone claims they need their cell phones “for an emergency”. However, I don’t think I was ever called in an emergency, except once when my grandpa was doing poorly. But, I wasn’t allowed to use my phone at work, so they had to call work anyway. A cell phone, for me, again was a source of stress. If somebody wanted to call, to say something, they would call and leave a message “why do you even have a cell phone if you never answer it. Call me back.” If we were out having a nice day, I would get a call “we decided to have a cookout, it starts in 10 minutes. come over.” when we didn’t, the next day, I’d have people mad because I didn’t show up and they called my cell phone. I’d be out with the kids and get a call “well, since you are out, will you do this errand for me?” people were ALWAYS running late, because, well, I can just call her and let her know. But, one call and 15 minutes would turn into 5 calls and an hour. I was paying $100/month, for everyone else’s convenience. So, I had my phone shut off, and i got a prepaid one on the same network as Aussie so we can talk while he’s out of town. I don’t give anyone the number except the babysitter and the kid’s dad. And, I am SO much less stressed. I am not having to run 30 errands for other people while I’m in town. People can’t call just to try to get me to do something for them. People actually visit now, because I never have a phone. In Feb. we prepaid $100 for that phone, and I am still on that original payment. I don’t reach for my phone at every quiet moment. I actually talk to people. It’s been really nice.
For all the “connecting” technology allows people to do, I’ve done a lot more, on a deeper level since I’ve become harder to get a hold of. And, Aussie cutting the wires has helped our relationship. We only get a little time together on the weekends anyway, why let everyone else have it? Why let him put in 50 hours of work for 40 hours of pay? Maybe this wouldn’t work for everyone, but, if you are somebody who everyone NEEDS to get in touch with, all day, every day, try leaving the phone home once in awhile and seeing how much others can really do without your awesomeness. You might be surprised.