Like so many I know, whenever I find myself in a foreign land, another state, or even another neighborhood, I get that Golly, wouldn’t it be neat to live here syndrome. It’s annoying, and at this point in my life I’m not even fooling myself. I know I’ll die and rot in this very spot in Houston, Texas, and no one will come and get me and my dog will pick my bones until someone rescues her. That last thought comforts me somehow.
But something far more irritating always eclipses the wouldn’t it be neat to live here, and it’s this: The Golly, wouldn’t I be a better person if I were just doing (or not doing) X?This has been going on for years, of course. In the ‘80’s I decided to lose that gas guzzling menace I drove and ride my bike everywhere. I was hit by a car. Twice. In the early ‘90s I felt compelled, after reading some environmentally-geared article, to put a compost pile in my back yard. It was soon overrun by opossums and raccoons, and I couldn’t get my dogs to stop dragging grapefruit rinds and moldy potato skins into the house.
So this Wednesday morning I was terrified and disturbed by an article in The New York Times online edition Technology section entitled Your Brain on Computers: Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime.
Matt Richtel, concludes:
The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.
Your Brain on Computers: The Unplugged Challenge — a collection of eleven videos made by people, ranging from late teens to early fifties, who volunteered to “give up technology” for a period of time and talk about their experiences.
BP? Did I really need the thing?
At first I thought not. But then I noticed that many of the New York Times volunteers, like Aura Lopez, 28, of Mexico City, had phones at work. Or they had land lines. I don’t have a land line, and I work at home. I would feel awfully cut off from civilization.
Sorry if that happens to any of you.
One has to make rules and stick with them.
2) Then there was the
Ipod. Why should I be attached to an Ipod? I’ve got the world’s worst taste in music. Would I actually miss The Carpenters’ Gold: The Greatest Hits or The Theme from Billy Jack?
The New Yorker over the “dashboard” of the machine, so I won’t have to look at all of the LED bells and whistles that tell me how many calories I’m burning or how fast my heart is pumping, because I really don’t care.
3) I thought that TV could probably go, program quality being what it is.
The New York Times Unplugged Challenge volunteers all agreed that they had more time to spend constructively when they didn’t spend all their time suckling at the teat of technology. But after living without a/c for days on end, I think I’d rather scold myself for staring at a computer screen all day than sweat like a pig and stare at a moldering wall
I’ve got mail.
also by Laura Lark
- The Lark Guide to Artworld Behaviors - October 28th, 2013
- Laura Lark Loves You #7: Somethin' Stupid - January 28th, 2013
- Laura Lark Loves You #6: Personal Best - December 31st, 2012
- Laura Lark Loves You #5: Nagging Back Pain? - September 5th, 2012
- Laura Lark Loves You #4: Following The Rules - August 9th, 2012