Technologically challenged…

I thought it was quiet; no phone calls, no texts, no incessant beeping from the double-edged technological marvel that is both a lifeline and a noose. I hadn’t missed it, but there was a vague sense of something being absent from my desk.

‘You left your phone here,’ said the first email, sent mid-afternoon and not long after I had clocked off and come home. I cast my mind back to the morning… I had placed the black phone on the black cabinet while I brought in a delivery. I could understand why I’d overlooked it.

‘Hello? Are you okay? There were sirens just after you left…’ said the second email, time-stamped an hour or two later. ‘Battle stations,’ said the latest, sent just moments before I had fired up the computer. ‘Expect your other son to knock on your door any minute now.’

Image result for technology funny cartoon

Having reassured my sons that I was not, in fact, dead, dying or otherwise inconveniently incapacitated… just away from the screen… I set off in the fading light to retrieve the phone, pondering, as I drove, how easily we have become enslaved by modern communication technologies.

They can be hugely reassuring. Gone are the days when you had to don hat and coat, scrabble around for the right change then venure out in all weathers to the nearest phone box to make a call, waiting for the dial to return to its place after each digit. And then hope the person to whom you wished to speak was near a phone. The mobile phone goes everywhere (unless you happen to put it down on a black cabinet…) and most of them now not only make calls but offer a complete home entertainment system, home office and tracking facility built-in.

Image result for technology funny cartoon

Not only can you find your way to anywhere with talking maps, find out pretty much anything with talking assistants and buy anything with all too much ease, you can make a call without even dialling a number. Assuming you don’t have a ten-mile drive to collect the phone first. And other people, with minimal effort, can track your whereabouts…

Just a few years ago, a week or two between letters was a fair question-and-response time. We were patient about correspondence and didn’t expect an immediate response, regardless of international time-zones. And, when we did put pen to paper, we actually wrote. There would be all the news in there, anecdotes, worries, fears, hopes and dreams… something to sit down and savour when it dropped on the mat. Something that might be kept for years.

Somehow, emails do not work that way. Their instant nature means we seldom go to the same lengths. Brevity becomes key and even the most personal emails seem to suffer. I wonder if it it the very convenience and invasiveness of emails that prevents us from writing the cherishable epistles of old?

These days, people expect you to be contactable, all the time, and we seem to have developed a whole new set of negative emotions to go with our new ease of communication. If you do not answer a call, you are likely to end up feeling guilty, and the caller may resent your lack of immediate response… yet I, for one, don’t take the phone into the shower, or answer it when driving. There are, I admit, even times I really do not want to speak to anyone. Mea culpa. These days, that seems a terrible admission to make!

Just a few days after my son set up a notification blocker on my phone, he was horrified to see that it had already blocked almost seven thousand of the things. Incoming informaion is a constant and can become intolerable if we allow it to rule our lives.

Yet, that same technology allows us to share thoughts instantly with others… thoughts  that once would have been lost before the opportunity to share them arose. We can pick up the phone, send a one-liner by email or text, or even a dozen of them. We can converse across continents in real-time, rather than awaiting a response. We can ‘be there’ for each other in ways previous generations could not have envisaged and even the video calls that were the stuff of science fiction when I was young have become commonplace.

I love modern technology. I feel incredibly lucky to be alive at this moment in time and to benefit from all the technological advances we have made and are making…but I do not want to become a slave to something designed to serve.

Image result for technology funny cartoon

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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43 Responses to Technologically challenged…

  1. Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Sue – oh dear, both blessing and curse –

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  2. Ritu says:

    It;s a double edged sword, technology, isn’t it!
    I feel like I’ve lost my right arm (as I have in reality with it still in a sling at the moment!) if I forget my phone. In fact I’ve been known to turn around and get it from wherever it was because I can’t fully function without it.
    But really I can, I’m just used to the convenience of having so much at my fingertips!
    I do miss the days of letters though. I have got the children to write to their grandparents, and uncle and aunt in Finland to get the idea of writing, and waiting for a response because it’s good to foster a sense of patience in them too!
    This generation are definitely an Instant Gen!

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  3. TanGental says:

    Oh how true all of this. ESP the loss of letters..

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  4. Funny how the inventions meant to improve our lives ending up having unintended complications.

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  5. janmalique says:

    So much of this resonates Sue, what did I do before the mobile phone and internet? Lived a life free from their siren call and enjoyed it…

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  6. scifihammy says:

    This resonated with me so much. Well written 🙂

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  7. I am with you Sue. It is great to spend quiet time with no phones. 🌼

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  8. I didn’t buy a new mobile for a while when mine broke a couple of years ago. At the time it was during the point where everyone was saying they didn’t need to add the talking software to the old style of mobiles because iPhones could talk, and I was reluctant to trust touchscreen technology when I couldn’t see. I’ve since brought – and now regularly use – an iPhone, but I spent several months without a mobile phone before I did so. It took a lot of work to convince people I really didn’t have a mobile at the time, and they acted like I was some strange alien creature whenever the fact it was true got through to them.

    Then I unplugged the main phone and turned off the mobile for a couple of days at the end of last week. I needed some breathing space, and needed to be able to catch up on some work without constant phonecalls and texts. I was still online – at least, a lot of that time – but not reachable by phone. The result? People panicked, and when I plugged the phone back in, the reception I got from those who had been trying to contact me made it seem like I’d commited the most terrible crime. They couldn’t understand how I could not only consider such a thing, but actually go through with it. I still can’t make them understand that I needed the space… They’re stuck on the fact that I voluntarily put myself in a position where I couldn’t be available immediately.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      I hear you, Tori. While I find it very reassuring that my son felt the need to call in the cavalry when I went ‘missing’ for a couple of hours, having left my phone in his home, we should not feel obliged to be available, or guilty when we are not… but that is the way things seem to be going.

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  9. quiall says:

    Technology was supposed to be a tool but it has become a tether! I miss the silence.

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  10. Pingback: Technologically challenged… – The Militant Negro™

  11. With regards to my life, technology has impacted my work life the most. Cell phones and email mean that you are expected to be available all day every day 24/7.

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  12. Love your images with this post Sue, so funny!
    My sister was angry I didn’t get her text message, saying that it must have gone in my junk file. My nokia is 20 plus years old and doesn’t have a junk file (it took me two years to realise it sent and received text messages as well as calls!) Of course it was my fault as I wasn’t on FB.

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  13. Maybe I am a prisoner of technology, but if I am, I’m a happy prisoner. Given the limitations life has given me in these past few years, I am incredibly grateful to have technology to free me from living in silence and solitude — to be able to use it to make my life better and a lot more fun!

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  14. Jennie says:

    Yes, a lifeline and a noose. Sigh!

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  15. Lyn Horner says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with my cell phone. Sounds like you have the same.

    Like

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