By Kathryn Musumeci
A day without technology is a daunting idea. When first presented with the task by Professor Rosenbaum, I had to take a minute to go over the electronics in my household. Obviously the computer, television, and cell phones couldn’t be used. In my mind, I added my kindle, my Xbox (which is pretty useless without the television anyways) and my bedside radio. Of course, if I had really taken this challenge to the extreme, my refrigerator would need to be unplugged along with my microwave and my electric stove, but I decided to differentiate between “electronics” and “appliances.”
Now I knew the fighting off boredom for the day would be difficult, as much as I hate to admit it, so I decided to plan accordingly. I recruited a housemate to participate with me and together we stopped by Target to pick up books and board games. I also made sure to call my parents to inform them that they wouldn’t be receiving their daily phone call and asked them not to call the police in response.
The day started off slowly. I made sure to stay up as late as possible the night before in order to sleep away as many electronic-void hours as possible. Upon waking up, I immediately reached for the radio to turn on music before realizing that was against the rules. I switched it off and in eerie silence, made myself breakfast. I read my book until my roommate awoke, and together we suited up and took the dog to the dog run. Again, we stalled as long as possible to waste time and then returned to the house and half-heatedly played Super-Mario Bothers Yahtzee. Two games later we switched to Donkey Kong Jenga, which we also bored of after a few rounds, and then resorted to sitting on the couch with the animals. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) this is where I plugged back in.
I heard my phone ringing in the other room and when I checked it, I saw a client from work had called. To give a little background information, I intern at a social work agency working with at-risk mentally ill adolescents. I let the first call go to voice mail, as well as the second, but when the client called for a third time I knew I needed to answer.
Ironically, I usually complain about clients calling on days that I don’t work. In this case, I almost welcomed the excuse to use my cellphone and was anxious to have something to do besides throw a ball for the dog. It turned out that my client was in a crisis and I spent the remainder of the evening making phone calls and sending emails in response to the situation.
Although my day was entirely sans-electronics, I think I had an experience anyways. It was startling to realize that even if I wanted to unplug myself, my lifestyle doesn’t allow for that. I am even more reliant and attached to electronics that I initially assumed.