Friday, June 12, 2015
Where do you plug in?
Okay, there's one at my desk in my office. There's one at my desk at home. There's one next to my bed. There's one in my car. And I'm trying to figure out how to rig something on my bike so I can have one there in case my bike ride goes longer than I expected. All are indicators of my concern that my portable electronics might be under-charged when I need them.
And my concern is not just my concern! The photo above would have been quite the novelty just a few years ago, but most of us who travel fairly often know that, as soon the plane arrives, or folks enter into the concourse, many make a beeline for the charging station. Get the laptop and smartphone charged before the next segment of the journey. Why? Because, as the sign suggests, we want to "Stay connected - keep in touch - never miss a beat!"
On the other hand, it's not just a case of "staying connected" or "keeping in touch". We depend on those little amazing glass, metal and plastic boxes for so much. So much so that, yesterday, as I was getting ready to leave my house for work on my bike, I was delayed as I tried to get my phone to recognize my heart rate monitor, the cadence detector on the bike, AND link up with my bluetooth headphone so I could listen to a podcast on my commute. I finally gave up, and, rode to work with only the sound of the traffic, birds . . . and the constant in-my-head conversation to keep me busy. Harrumph!
So that little tool has, in fact, enslaved me. I am keeping it charged and recharged, in some respects to keep me from being recharged. My personality may predispose me to this malady, but I suspect that, in a mostly-hard-charging-academic-environment, I'm not alone. Of course it's not just academics; some might say this is a problematic inheritance from our "Protestant-work-ethic ancestors". I mean, golly, if we miss that call, or tweet, our lives will fall apart.
If we settle back a moment, we probably would realize how wrong that is. And, yesterday, as I was riding to work WITHOUT benefit of headphones, I had a lot of time to ponder my own descent into that perdition of productivity!
Many of us will remember the novelty of MTV's experiment showcasing musicians "unplugged". A pretty big hit. So much so, that the idea of "unplugging" has entered the cultural mainstream. And I think that's a great first step. But what's next? Simply re-plugging into the same source? Or, perhaps, taking the opportunity to plug into an entirely different resource -- be it the Divine, or nature, a restorative soak in a hot spring, or a deep conversation with a loved one. Recharging may not need a cord. This closing photo arrive in my Facebook feed (yes, I'm guilty!) as I was writing. It seems a fine ending: