Master and servant

Who is the servant? The technology, or the person who owns it?

I was in the middle of painting this morning and the phone rang. I have only one special ring and it is for my husband. This was not that ring. So it was someone else. I considered stopping what I was doing but that would mean not having enough time to finish my painting. It might also mean that my phone got covered in paint.

I don’t have the kind of life where people have to get hold of me every second of the day. It is important to me that I have my life like that. If people are having an emergency they can call 911, not me. I am not a manager and I am not a parent. I am not a caregiver to anyone. I am not anyone’s AA sponsor. I believe each person should take care of themselves and not have emergencies that I have to take care of.

So when the phone rang my instinct was to jump up and get it, just because society tells us we should do that. But thankfully I ignored it. Training can be broken.

How many of us think that we have to jump the moment the phone rings? If we are driving we feel like we have to answer it. Or we feel like we have to answer that text. The phone rules us, not the other way around.

There was a lady who is changing at the Y and her phone kept going off with texts. She looks very frustrated. Every time she would reply, her friend would reply, and then she would have to reply again. I said “Just put it down.” But she said “No, if I don’t answer immediately they begin to worry.” I said “Tell them you are changing at the Y and it can wait.”

This has happened many times. There is a no-cellphone policy in the changing room at the Y, but nobody obeys it. Even if they don’t get that people don’t like the idea of possibly having their picture made while changing, they still don’t get that they don’t have to use their phone all the time. It can stay turned off. We don’t have to be connected all the time.

It’s like I have to do an intervention with people. Perhaps we are addicted to our technology. While our cellphones makes life easier, in a way, they have made life more difficult.

While they have
in theory
made us
more connected
to each other,
they have made
our lives
more disconnected
we are
more disconnected
from ourselves.

Is this what we want? Who is in charge, the technology or us? We have to decide it is okay to turn your phone off. You don’t have to have it on while you’re driving. You don’t have to discuss all of your life’s business while you are walking through Walmart. Nobody wants to know it anyway. How did you survive before you had a phone surgically attached to yourself? You did just fine. People say “Oh I have to take care of my bills while I’m driving.” No, you don’t. How did you take care of them before you had a cell phone and before you could pay them online? You wrote a check and you mailed it in and it got done. Things don’t have to be done any faster these days, we have just been trained that they do.

If the technology isn’t serving you, then you are the servant.