Over the past weekend, various members of the Tire Business staff challenged themselves to turn off their cell phones and other technological devices that deliver communication and entertainment. We constantly hear that, in today's day-and-age, we are addicted to this type of technology. Did this ring true for our staffers? Over the next few days, we will be posting first-hand accounts of the experiences participants had during this “no-tech” challenge.
AKRON — Making the decision to turn off my cell phone, iPad, television and radio for 48 hours was something I didn't take lightly — and it was a choice I had to prepare for.
I knew there were a handful of people I needed to let know or they would be concerned. My sister even said if I wouldn't have told her beforehand she would have thought I was “dead in a ditch somewhere” if I didn't speak to her for two days.
Messages were sent to her, my mom, aunt and cousin. My fiancé Doug had to support my decision whether he wanted to or not since we spend so much of weekend time together. We decided to save a puzzle we'd been waiting to work on for this no-technology weekend.
After I got home on Friday night and handled some last-minute Internet needs, I powered down my cell phone and the TV at about 8:30 p.m. I took notes throughout my weekend, so instead of telling you how it went, I am going to let you live my stream-of-conscious experience with me.
- After “going dark,” I still instinctively turn on my Friends DVD to fall asleep to. I remember 10 minutes later and turn it off. It takes me significantly longer to fall asleep and I am not happy.
- While moonlighting as a doughnut shop maker, I turn on the radio halfway through my shift. However, I would have needed to turn it on an hour later anyway once customers started coming in, so I will take this as “Cheat 1.” But I spend my break times reading a book and don't turn on my phone to play Candy Crush like I want to.
- I hate silence. This practice is making me plan to look up ways to take care of my hearing once I am able to use the Internet again. (Note, I have already read this article from The Cleveland Clinic.)
- Officially not happy I finished my book so early on Saturday morning. Good thing I am reading another book, too. But too bad it's a digital copy on my iPad. I will have to pick that one back up on Monday.
- “Hello darkness, my old friends…I've come to talk with you again…” Simon & Garkfunkel's “The Sound of Silence” has been stuck in my head for more than 12 hours. I want to watch The Graduate right now. Oh wait, I can't. I can't use the television.
- About 18 hours in: So far, being “out of touch” with the world is not a problem; however, doing one thing at a time, without even having music or the TV on in the background, is not in my nature. I am starting to feel “out of touch” with myself.
- An hour hike in the park with my fiancé is wonderful. I have continued to wear my Jawbone fitness tracker during this weekend, but will not upload the data into my phone until it's time to plug back in. I am glad I am still getting my steps in! I am feeling good. As long as I have Doug to talk to, this evening should be a piece of cake.
- “Cheat #2”: Doug decides to go to an impromptu dinner with his best friend. I cannot be left alone to my own devices…with my own devices. Doug texts my cousin for my aunt's phone number and I call her to see if she is home. She is, so I drive over to her house — without music — so that I have something to do besides stare at the walls in my house.
- I use my aunt's house phone to call Doug. I forgot people have house phones, but I guess it came in handy to see if my dinner Doug was bringing home with him was ready to eat yet. It's time to drive again without music. I will make my own music. I rock out Tina Turner's “Proud Mary” and Sam Smith's “Lay Me Down” a few times before I arrive home and eat my dinner.
- Doug and I complete a 300-piece puzzle in less than three hours. Discussion: Does not having the TV on in the background make us more focused on the task at hand? Probably. Do we still wish we could be watching Friday night's episode of Grimm already? Certainly.
- Another night of no TV sleep. The sound of the fan is not cutting it. Ugh.
- Happy Mother's Day! At least today I will be surrounded by family and not be bored. I will not use this no technology as an excuse not to get my workouts in. Hike yesterday was good, but what to do today? “Cheat #3” is working out on the Wii Fit, however, I don't even know if I count it as a cheat because it definitely wasn't entertaining. I did the workout programs without music. It was awful.
- For Mother's Day, my siblings and I recreated childhood photos and we presented them to mom in a video slideshow before giving her the big picture frame with all of them in it. This was “Cheat #4.” The Cavs game was also on in the background during the day, but I didn't pay attention to it. We went out to dinner for Doug's Mother's Day celebration, which also had TVs in the background.
- 7:45 p.m. on Sunday night. Good thing we need to swing by the grocery store on the way home. Once I walk in the door, it will be 8:30 p.m. and I can turn on my phone and television again.
- 8:30 p.m. equals powering-on time! Grimm is playing by 8:40 p.m.
Overall, my expectations were pretty spot on. While I love being able to be connected to my loved ones and do regularly scroll through Facebook, not doing those things wasn't difficult. I missed having access to information at my fingertips, but mostly I don't like that without music and/or the television, everything felt really slow to me. So, can I happily live without checking my phone every hour or so? Yes. Can I live happily without background noise? No.
Would I try this experiment again? I would turn off my phone again, but I don't know how I would feel about another weekend without a melody. At least I had a song in my heart.