I discovered something last night… Something magical I thought only existed in far off dreams.  Something so valuable yet so simple, I had missed it in its entirety:

My phone….. has an off button.

I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath.  I know this news comes as quite a shock.  It practically knocked me out of my chair.

We are the “connected” generation.  Our cell phone has practically become a 5th limb.  With capabilities to check Facebook and Twitter, check in to our favorite locations through Foursquare, check email on the go, text or use any app under the sun, our phones keep us constantly in check…. and…. available.

Don’t get me wrong – a part of me loves the ability to constantly know what’s going on.  I am always able to check my email and know exactly what waits for me at the office or at home.  I like to be able to instantly post an article I find interesting, a funny phrase or my rant of the day.   But, at the end of the day, I want out.

Recently, I had to change my text ringtone because every time I heard that aggravating noise, I wanted to throw my phone in the toilet and flush repeatedly to assure the haunting noise would never come back.  I wanted to rid my life of the twangy ping that made me cringe and at times, almost cry.  I had to get away.  I had to free myself.  A change in sound has decreased this reaction…. slightly.  I no longer find myself running to the bathroom with the phone in my hand, dangling it over the toilet with a voice in my head screaming “I’ll do it!!  Don’t make me do it!!” every time I receive a text.  It’s maybe decreased to every third time.  Progress?  I think so.

I think deep down, I’ve always known the phone had an off button but I was too afraid to use it.  How would I know what was going on in the world around me?  How could I stand the disconnection?  More importantly, how was I going to explain to others my absence?  How could I explain that I just didn’t WANT to answer?  There was nothing keeping me from responding other than the fact that I just didn’t want to pick up the dreaded pocket-sized piece of insanity any more.  And then I realized…. That’s the beauty of it all.  I have the option – I can turn the phone off.

We all need time to disconnect.  In a world of instant everything, it’s nice to completely unplug – to check out and actually enjoy the quiet.  We have such an expectation now a days – if the phone rings, you need to answer it right away.  Receive a text?  Better send one back quickly.  Was that the doorbell?  Drop what you’re doing and answer the door.  We are constantly expected to be available to the outside world. Available day or night… if you can’t answer the phone, you can surely answer a text.  No time for text?  Well then I’ll email you…. and then call again…. and then text again…. and again…. and again….

Well, I’m here to say no.  Every now and then, I turn my phone off and I’ll tell you what – there’s a weight lifted off your shoulder followed by a rush of relief.  I’ve begun to read again.  I’ve sat and enjoyed just relaxing without the interruption of a twangy ping from my phone.  It’s the simple things that are most often the best things.  Silence is golden after all.

Now… if only I could figure out how to disable the doorbell….



~ by caitlinludwig on June 15, 2010.

4 Responses to “Flush…”

  1. I can definitely relate when it comes to having difficulty turning off my phone. I always worry someone’s going to get into an accident and have to get rushed to the emergency room, but I won’t know because my phone is off. I’ve gotten better at using the “quiet” or “ignore” buttons, though!

  2. I often take cell-phone vacations (mostly I leave my phone on vibrate and forget about – but that counts, right?). I also have a rule with most people – if, and only if, it’s an emergency call twice. That way if I’m screening and not on a full fledged vacation I will answer. I think it’s all about the expectations and boundaries you create. BTW you should flush that phone, it’s a wreck – lol

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  4. I just found out when I go on my vacation to a US Virgin Island, my carrier calls it “International roaming.” So, a carrier-imposed cell vacation will be required. Can’t wait!

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