This weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a dear friend’s wedding in Plettenberg Bay. Not only was I able to witness two of my closest buddies merging their lives together as one, I was also able to get out of the city for a quick break from all the mayhem.
I’ve always said it and now firmly believe it — people should take any opportunity away from the workplace to clear their heads, plot new ideas and be exposed to untainted opportunities of free thought. This is what I wanted my weekend away to be all about and, believe me, there is not enough space in the SQL database hosting this site to store the amount of data I processed over the past five days.
However, one of the things that struck me, not only about myself but also about others around me, was the huge dependency we all have on technology.
Here’s how my dreams of a peaceful weekend away began to crumble in the hands of gadgets and gizmos …
Taking a day out of the office was already a tough side order to swallow so you must know that I whipped out my laptop at the airport faster than most people draw their ID books. I switched off my phone after being bullied into hanging up my call as the plane gave a pre-take-off rev. And when we reached soaring altitude, my MacBook Pro made its next appearance so I could enjoy a private in-flight movie with my lady.
Once we had landed in George I was quickly on the phone again and my girl was combing Facebook — just in case someone back home had a life-shattering status change or relationship update, of course!
I’ve never been a massive fan or user of WAP, but I too found myself checking Facebook for some friendly family comments as well as Thought Leader to see if Arthur Goldstuck had posted any new enlightening words (by the way, the archives don’t load when using a cellphone, ahem …).
As the weekend went by, I tried my hardest to separate myself from email, phones and Facebook to enjoy the amazing forests, lagoons, beaches and, of course, Monkeyland. Yet I still found myself depending on my cellphone to capture images of my weekend trip. “What would I do without it?” I proclaimed when I successfully photographed an award-winning sunset.
One afternoon when I had some time to plot my next blog post, I began debating to myself why this dependency exists so strongly with me. Am I addicted to technology or have I come to count on it to make my life simpler? Is this simplicity tearing me away from the things that are really important in life, like relationships? This can of worms unfolded in my head over a few hours until I decided that life really is about communication. And despite technology enabling us to speak and text more often, in many cases it’s reducing the time we see and touch one another.
Perhaps this was one of the reasons my Xbox-addicted friend and his Facebook-fixated fiancée decided to wed away from the big city in the first place?
I switched off my phone, packed up my laptop and spent my last two days talking and being around my friends. At first I wondered if people were trying to contact me, then if that mail had come through and, finally, if my business was running smoothly.
But in the end I managed to store those thoughts in the far side of my mind and enjoy the great opportunity I had to be with my closest friends by the sea. No more emails, alarm clocks, iPods and laptops … until I got back to the airport, of course. Doh!