Thursday, February 17, 2011

We Interrupt this Life with a Brief Message

I love to watch certain TV shows when I’m decompressing from my day of writing. We often record our favorite shows via a special cable box similar to a TIVO. It’s called a DVR, or Digital Video Recorder. I love it because I can zoom through commercials and get straight to the next segment of the show. This is a time saving, annoyance busting device.

Interruptions can still occur during my television viewing time.  Top on the list? The phone rings. Oh, the phone. The phone rings during my writing time, my socializing time, my time with my family, my cleaning time (okay I don’t mind that interruption), and my shower time (usually I get good news when the phone rings during my shower time—don’t know why—but I do).

Does the phone own me, or do I have power over the interruption? Well, I think we have declared a truce of sorts. How? Well, I have a very handy voice that tells me who is calling when the phone rings. It isn’t perfect, but if certain phone numbers or names crop up, I immediately answer the summons. If I don’t recognize the phone number, or name, I often don’t answer if I am busy.

But what if the call is important and I just don’t recognize the number due to my darling teen borrowing a friend’s phone? Or what if that call is from someone calling to offer me a writing contract? Or a contest win/final call is trying to come through? Well, I’ve given it some thought. I guess I split the difference if I am not in full-on writing mode. Then I might answer, or I’ll let the voice mail pick it up and I’ll check my messages on the voicemail during a writing break or a television viewing break.

If the person really wants to talk to me, he or she will leave a message and I have the number stored on my phone.

This is easy compared the rotary dial phone days. This is a snap during the days before cell phones, voice mail, texting, emailing, and Skyping. The modern world has improved our ability to connect with each other and to stay connected.

But in a way, by being so connected and plugged in we might lose sight of being “in the moment” with others. We might lose sight of being “in the moment with ourselves,” too. I remember when I used to just get in my car and go somewhere. No phone. No texting. No anything. I didn’t worry about not staying connected. I just enjoyed the journey.

Now? I get into my car and start driving. The first thing I check for is my cell phone. Goodness me, if I don’t have it then I head straight back home to get my little bit of cyber crack. I can’t risk missing that all important call or being interrupted by a person who absolutely has to get a hold of me.
What are your go-to devices for connectivity? Do you feel they keep you closer to people or that they are distracting?


Kelliejwin said...

Great post, Christine! When I'm out I let my phone go to voice mail. I like to be in the moment and not distracted from my visit with friends to answer. If it's important they'll call back. While technology is great for keeping us in touch with the world at large, sometimes we need to shut out the world and simply reconnect with ourselves.

Christine said...

I agree Kellie. I love my technology, but I don't want it to control me all the time. I often leave the phone on silent because of this reason.


Gwen Hernandez said...

So true about technology both enriching and taking over our lives, Christine.

I try to have my phone with me for safety, and I admit to checking email fairly regularly, but the small keyboard keeps me from responding to most emails.

I've been struggling to be disconnected more often since I already spend so many hours tied to the computer. If I'm out and busy, I don't usually think about it, but if I'm home and writing, it can be so hard to leave the email and Tweetdeck closed. I'm getting better though... ;-)

Pam said...

I don't know how I survived without my iPhone. I keep it with me all the time; I even sleep with it at night. It is more dependable than any man I have ever had in my life! ;-)

Patricia Preston said...

I don't even know where my phone is right now.

Christine said...

Hi Gwen: Yes, the tweetdeck is very tempting when we are writing. I think being tied to the computer all day can lead to being more involved with the other social media networks. I shut off the Internet and the email completely when I am in writer mode. I don't allow myself to use the Internet/email till I have a scheduled break. That is one way to keep it under control. Another way is to only do social media when one is stuck in lines, etc., but I am a lousy texter. Slow as molasses LOL.

Christine said...

Hi Pam: LOL you are so funny. I do love my iPhone. It really has helped me with all its features. I used it to find a store and map it when I was in Nashville. So much easier than calling home and asking someone to look it up for me.

Christine said...

Hi Patricia: Good for you! I'm impressed. I think I would feel I had lost an appendage if I didn't know where my phone was in the house.


Anne Gallagher said...

I don't answer my phone -- EVER. That's what the machine is for. I listen to the message while it plays and if I want to talk I pick it up.

I hate technology and if I didn't have to have it I wouldn't. And actually I don't. We don't even have cable tv.

Christine said...

Hi Anne: I'm impressed by your discipline regarding the phone calls. They aren't orders at all. I don't hate technology. I do appreciate much of it as it keeps me connected to the world. And I'd be lost without my side by side washer/dryer LOL. But I do like to be the one in charge of the technology. I can't tell you how sad it makes me when I see a parent/child out and the parent is texting or talking into his/her blue tooth. :(

Melissa said...

I'm not sure how many people even use their home phone to call me anymore. Without my cell phone, I'd be lost. With three kids, I love knowing I can reach them just about anytime and anywhere. Not sure how they feel about that fact thought. LOL ;)

Christine said...

Hi Melissa: The cell phone connection to my child is amazing. We are texter (but not while I am driving, I promise!). This way I worry a whole lot less about her. She's usually pretty good about letting me know when she's arrived at a destination. Now that she is driving her own vehicle, I consider this a huge blessing!

I have to admit that email and cell phones are my go-to cyber tools!