Be On Alert!

I don’t like keeping my phone on at all hours of the day.  I’m in the minority of my peer group when it comes to this habit.  I turn my cell phone off when I go to bed and I have for years and that annoys some people.  So what?

Everyone always jumps to the emergency factor.  Anybody who would need to get in touch with me when there is an emergency knows where I am or has my home number.  If the house phone rings while it is dark out and I’m asleep, I should be lucid enough to realize the situation is an important one.

I think this is all a side effect of living in reaction.   How many times do your friends check their mobile devices when you’re telling them about something?  They hear a DING! and absolutely need to check their email in case it’s urgent.  Emails aren’t urgent.  Phone calls are.  Sometimes, they’ll get a text and need to reply immediately.  Wouldn’t want to make someone who isn’t standing right in front of you wait while the person who is standing there tries to tell their story to a brick wall.

I think Twitter has helped give people perspective on missing out.  After all, Twitter is an ongoing real-time conversation so unless you backtrack by hours or days, you may miss an update.  Chances are you didn’t miss a damn thing.  One person had Special K for breakfast, a celebrity tweeted some inane encouragement to be happy, and a friend of yours FML’s over not being able to find their car keys.  Thankfully, they found their phone so they could tweet about it.

I’ll admit I’m not great at ignoring my phone all the time.  I’ve gotten into the habit of silencing all alerts except phone calls when I’m driving, I rarely take my phone out having dinner with my girlfriend, and sometimes I just want to be left out so I silence the phone altogether and check it when I’m ready to be plugged back in.  While they’re awesome for many reasons, mobile devices have given us way more reasons to really not focus on any one action.  I like having my phone but I don’t like what the alert sounds turn me into.  No wonder so many people are claiming to have ADD when they jump every time they hear a beep.  It’s called “hypnosis.”  Unplug once in a while, even while you sleep.  It’s good for you.