Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Slippery Digital Slope

1- I used to write in a journal, not "dear diary" style or anything of that sort, but the kind of poems that end up on this site every so often, and other writing that's either too terrible or too private to share. I keep it in my overstuffed purse and have kept one there (or in my school bag back in high school and university) since the ninth grade, in case the mood should move me and I should be inspired to put something down.

For maybe 6 or 7 months, I haven't put anything down in my journal except maybe a phone number or directions. It's become more like a notepad than a place for writing... and I miss it.

2- My old cell phone was a pay-as-you go plan, essentially used to say "Baba, I'll be at the bus station in 25 minutes" after a late class, or "Mama, was it walnuts or hazelnuts you wanted me to pick up from Bulk Barn". My new cell phone is a full-fledged, long term plan with lots of minutes and unlimited talk and text to "my 5" which I used to make fun of endlessly before I signed up for the same thing.

3- I had a laptop at work a few years ago before switching jobs, but I rarely used it and stuck instead to my trusty, old Windows XP Service Pack 1 machine for all my computing needs at home. When I switched to my "new" job about 2 years ago, I went laptop-less until about 3 months ago, when I decided to buy one for my new, mobile, double-citied life.

4- Around that same time, I got a new mp3 player which also happened to play FM Radio, so now I can listen to my beloved CBC Radio in transit.

I would have scoffed before at getting internet access wherever I was, but now that I can listen to CBC anywhere, and make endless phone calls on the Greyhound between Montreal and Ottawa, I'm practically itching to be able to check anything from anywhere. But here's the catch: I don't need to. I sit at work for 8 hours with internet at my finger tips. Depending on the day of the week, I can check the internet either 1 or 3 hours after leaving my office. That's barely any time to be "un-plugged" but I think I'm hooked.
My solution is to slow down, get a bit more "disconnected" and read solid, physical, tangible books or my Quran on my bus rides... The physical world is actually a fabulous place, and for all the advantages of constant connection, it's nice to stop and notice what's actually around us once in a while. There's something to be said for having access to too much data and not enough information, and that's what I'm afraid the digital age has done to some, including myself...

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