The other day, the wireless router for my computer was having trouble and I couldn’t get online. After trying a few times, I thought, okay, well, I’m sure it will be fine soon. Maybe an hour goes by and I try again. No better. I start to wonder if maybe something is really wrong. But I continue working, which I was doing on my computer, and thought, well, I’m sure it will be fine by morning. I should clarify that I’m a reader for a production company and I do these things called “coverage” which are reports basically on the assignment I’m given, whether it be a script, book, play, etc. Anyway, to make a long story short, I hand in my coverage via email to my boss at whatever deadline I’m given. And in this case, I had to have it in the next morning. So, I finish my work, sleep a few hours and wake up to revise and edit it before handing it in. Bad news. Internet is still down. I start to worry. I try all the troubleshooting I know how and still nothing. I go to another computer in the house, a PC laptop (I’m a MAC user and it’s a desktop) and plug the router directly into it. It works. I hand in my assignment with only minutes to spare. And then I breath.
Flash forward to today. I’ve been known to drop things. And my phone has been, well, dropped a few times. But suddenly, it just decided to call it quits today. And I realized I couldn’t get any calls, make any calls or do practically anything with it. I learned this around 11am. By noon, I was panicking. Shit, my job could be trying to get a hold of me. Man, what about all the festivals I’ve submitted my film to? What if today is the day I get a call? Crap, what about my friends who need to get a hold of me? And my mom who calls 911 if I don’t call her back immediately? And what about text messages? I’ll never be able to retrieve those. And the photos I have saved on it and blah, blah, blah.
I had to tell my mind to shut the hell up. It’s a phone for Christ sake. And that’s when I realized how truly dependent I’ve become on technology. And it kinda made me sick to my stomach. I remember the days of high school, and yes, I’m about to date myself right now, where “landlines” didn’t exist, they were just known as phones. We had actual answering machines and if you were out of the house, either you used a pay phone or you didn’t make a call. No one could just get a hold of you at any time, anywhere. We didn’t talk about the “internet” and “social networking.” If you wanted to see photos of someone, you had to actually be in the presence of the actual photo. And while there are definite benefits to the advancements of technology, it has also, in many ways, taken over our lives and one has to stop and ask, do we control technology? Or does it control us?
And not all new technology beats its predecessors. When I listen to vinyl records, I’m reminded of this. When I watch a 35mm film, it’s depth of beauty is more haunting than any digital film I’ve ever seen.
As today progressed, and I got used to not having a cell phone, I have to admit. It was kinda freeing. And though I will go get a new one tomorrow, I will always remind myself that it is I who holds the power. Not it.