Take Back Your Life


There are any number of reasons why cell phones are number one on my ‘kill’ list, not the least of those being the way they turn a fairly normal, connected and aware individual into an instant dead zone zombie, existing in an alternate configuration of reality and surrounded by a personal space in which no one else actually registers.

I mean, you must have seen it. In any social situation, or gods forefend even a boardroom meeting, you’ll see this relatively accessible, awake human being transformed by the ringing of a bell into a shambling denizen of , if not the netherworld, at least a corner of the cosmos not immediately apparent to the rest of us.

A woman ahead of me on the street will suddenly press her ear to her phone and begin wandering in circles, talking as if a half a dozen people hadn’t just narrowly averted a collision with her.

A man driving home in rush hour traffic will be transmogrified on the instant into a lethal demon, his normally-competent brain too subdivided to avoid swerving into the young mother in the next car.

An interesting and compelling conversation will suddenly fall apart in embarrassment as one of the main protagonists answers his buzzing pocket. What a farce. What a bunch of rude barbarians we have become, all at the behest of a tiny, portable communication device.

But what has set me off today is yet another aspect of these infernal devices, often touted as a feature – and that is their ability to receive and send emails. To and from the office. In your out-of-office time, yet.

Wait, people – I thought we were supposed to savour the multitudinous aspects and formats of this incarnation we have taken on, this time? Since when has it become a virtue to be always and forever connected to your place of work – nibbling at your nervous system, undermining your relationships, taking you over as a corporate undead citizen forever and ever, amen?

Cut the Power. Kill the Machines.

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8 responses to “Take Back Your Life

  1. One of the reasons I prefer e-mails to phone calls for all but the most urgent stuff is that people can read them at their convenience, wehn they have some time to spare, while phone calls often interrupt people when they are doing something else. I often read and reply to e-mails at 3:00 am when everyone else in the house is asleep and I'm awake. I'd hate to think that those e-mails were demanding attention on someone's cell phone at that hour!

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  2. Oh my hel. I was just reading this post to my husband (because answering the cell phone during dinner and such is something he does) when, as I was telling him how rude I find it that people answer their telephones during conversations – his phone when off. And he ignored what I was saying to pick it up.I'd laugh if it wasn't so sad.

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  3. Steve: I prefer emails for much the same reasons as you do – plus, I like the freedom to be verbose. :)Kay: Wahhhh. I can just picture it – my partner behaves in the same way. It's so sad.Love,T

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  4. it is for this reason that I do not actually own a cell phone yet. My wife has a cheap one (for her work) but it does not have voicemail or a camera or anything else. If someone calls with an important enough message to leave a message, they can call the home phone and we'll get it when we want to, later. If it is a REAL emergency, everyone knows to call the cell a few times to annoy us into answering. Otherwise, it's not that important to interrupt us.

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  5. Several times a week I will be in a conversation at the law borg w someone who, while I am talking, pulls out his/her (it's never her) blackberry and starts looking at emails. I stop talking and wait. And I'M the rude one.

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  6. Hecate: Subtly (or not so subtly) implying that you're not as important as the email, Dammit, that's rude.There's an article on New Scientist this week about how our capacity to do more than one thing properly at a time is severely limited.Love,T

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