Bostonista Wrestles: The Tech Detox

Rachel Baker and Sascha de Gersdorff get wired up about their technology-eschewing resolutions.

Rachel: Hey Sascha, Happy Thursday!

Sascha: Happy Thursday… and Happy New Year!

Rachel: Right back at ya!

So, the last time I checked you were (sort of) giving up your cell phone, right?

You are so Vince Vaughn in Swingers. I should give you dimes for the pay phone for your birthday.

Though it’s totally cool and hipster of you to give up modern technology, I must say that for those of us still in the 21st century it’s a bit annoying.

And, dare I say it, you’re sort of sacrificing responsibility to make yourself look cool and old school.

Sascha: “Sort of” being the operative words. It was one of my many possibly misguided, possibly impossible New Year’s Resolutions: Revert back to those simpler times when I didn’t swivel my desk chair toward my cell to check for texts every 20 minutes (texts from who? I have no idea). Also, let’s ask: Does anyone have an attention span anymore? What with the texting and calling and Facebooking, etc.

I’ll take Vince Vaughn in Swingers any day. I actually have a bag full of quarters ($26 worth) in my glove compartment for just such occasions.

Though let’s remember that it’s WITH cell phones that people can recreate the painful Jon Favreau scene in which he’s dialing like a mad man.

Geez, I really hope you’re going to spell check this.

Rachel: But now that cell phones are a part of modern life, you can’t revert back to the simpler times without getting the rest of the world to jump in the Delorian and go with you. And, I don’t see that trip happening, at least not for me.

Like, you’re going to be left in the dust and miss out on really fun times.

And I know you, you don’t want me having fun without you.

My resolution, however, is very modern.

Sascha: Well, according to several highly respected sources—you and my little sister among them—not having a cell phone is “highly inconvenient.” Inconvenient for who? For you? Maybe. For me? Maybe not so much. Call me old-school (or a hipster), but there’s something about being alone and unreachable that feels kinda nice. But I do agree to some extent that now that the world’s changed, it’s harder to be a one-man—an island, if you will—technophobe. I mean, I get that’s not how people relate anymore. Case in point: I had to break my rule/resolution yesterday and bring my phone to work because I was waiting for a dinner confirmation text. Think about that for a second… Really? Yes, really. That’s how we make plans now.

Rachel: But my resolution it still gives me the triumph of deprivation that you’re addicted to with this anti cell phone business. Not unlike the euphoria anorexics experience.

You are on a high horse.

Sascha: A distraction-free high horse!

Rachel: Also, to be clear: My resolution is not to sign on facebook for a full week.

Sascha: Look at how much more work I’m getting done,

Rachel: Wait, wait, wait.

Sascha: while you’re still over there fielding cute little notes from your cadre of admirers…

Rachel: Let me say this: Since you’ve “given up” the cell phone, I *know* you’ve probably wasted double the amount of time on facebook as you did before.

I know my demons, I know that facebook is a timesuck. Texting and checking texts is quick and painless.

Sascha: Hm. You might have a point… BUT, to counteract that, I’ve disabled all my FB notifications.

Rachel: Now, every time I stop by your desk you’re quickly minimizing some old elementary school friend’s photo album.

Sascha: All those little moments add up, my friend.

Rachel: Who needs notifications if you’re checking your newsfeeds constantly?

Sascha: Now that is not true [Ed note to boss: DEFINITELY NOT TRUE]

Rachel: Not as much as all those little facebook-checking sessions, “my friend.”

Sascha: Ok, so let’s talk about your plan. Why did you give up FB for a week if it’s not for the very same reasons I’ve given up my cell for a month?

Rachel: Anyway, I’m feeling great now that I’ve been facebook sober for almost four full days. And I’m not alienating friends in doing it. Anyone who needs to get in touch with me can call my cell.

I was giving it up because it was a time waster. Also, because knowing or being able to know what everyone was doing at all times started to make me go insane.

Like, you don’t NEED to look at those acid-washed 80s photos. But you NEED TO RESPOND TO MY TEXT MESSAGES!

What if I needed you for something really important… Like, what if my necklace chain got in a knot? I’m not dexterous enough to undo that sort of thing and you know it. So what am I supposed to do without your nimble hands? Wear a knotted necklace?

Or—gasp!—not wear a necklace at all?

Sascha: So, in the end, we’re coming at this from two different angles. I’m giving up the cell because I can’t stand constantly wondering who might text/call me any given time, and you’re giving up FB because you can’t stand wondering what everyone else is up to at any given time. I guess that makes me sound sort of like a narcissist. (Which I’m clearly not. Have you seen my hair today? Mirror = scary)

Rachel: We should be on call for each other. But not for that kid that sat next to us in “Character Exploration” class (yes, that existed at Jackson Preparatory School) in the 8th grade.

Sure, I would love to give up my cell. But I would never do that to my loved ones.

Sascha: To answer your necklace fear (the horror!), I would say that not having access—even virtual—to all your friends at all times might build character And self-reliance.

Rachel: I think you’d be singing a different tune if you were doing this little experiment of yours one of the myriad nights you’ve been locked out at your apartment and needed to bunk at mine…

Sascha: Well, that’s what I mean about “building character.”

Rachel: You want me to leave you out in the cold? DONE. I’LL BUILD YOU SOME CHARACTER.

Sascha: Also, let me point out on other thing I’ve realized:

Rachel: Please do.

Sascha: Does anyone know anyone else’s number anymore? The other day I wanted to call your cell and picked up my work phone [Note to boss: It was a business call!] and then… what the hell is your number? I have no idea. It’s just “Rachel” on my phone. Same problem with my sister—my sister! I don’t even know my own families’s numbers. Doesn’t that strike you as off?

It made me feel even more tied to my phone.

Not so good.

Rachel: Totally off. But that’s something different entirely. But yes, it’s annoying. Every morning when I call you from bed to complain about my hangover, I have to look up your number on my cell phone in order to call you from my landline. Very annoying. The world today!

Sascha: See!

Something we agree on, finally.

Rachel: Sascha. You know I support you. I’m just saying, the next time I’m hanging out at Toro with Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney (you like him, right? I think you do… he’s too old for me, so I’ll take Leo), and I text you or call you to come join us, you might not get the call.

And that would make me sad.

For you.

And for me. Because I’d want to share that with you.

Like I always do when I hang out with hot movie stars between the hours of 9 and 5.

Sascha: Sad, yes. (And I’ll fight you for Leo. And you must mean 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.) But, were I not to have my phone and not be able to join, that would just make the moment so deliciously circumstantial for you. And give you extra bragging rights and a better story to tell.

Or you could just put in all in a letter and pop it in the mail. Because I’m thinking maybe email is next…

Rachel: But I’m a giver, Sascha. Let me share with you! On that note, I could use some brussel sprouts. Want to go to Toro tonight? I know it’s early to make plans and I could be jumping the gun. But if I better ask you while we’re communicado. Otherwise I could be left with your (unchecked) voicemail.

Rachel: [AND….. SCENE!]