Sanity in electronic separation

For those of you without a cell phone, MP3 player or Internet, I applaud you.

A few weeks ago I found myself in uncharted water; I was checked into a hotel for an entire weekend! Now this might sound like a normal vacation to some, but I had to survive with a dead cell phone, no laptop, no MP3 player and worst of all my parents were along. With all of this newfound time on my hands (the first 30 minutes), I came up with a not-so-crazy idea: I think my generation would spontaneously combust if cell phones, the Internet or iPods were wiped off the face of the earth. OK, OK, we definitely would survive, but I have to imagine there would be a lot of angry and confused young adults walking aimlessly around campus. I have to ask a few questions to those reading. How different would your life be if a phone call were not a simple armís length away? That seemingly simple call to a friend while walking out of class would cease. How would one stay occupied without constantly checking their Facebook profile or chronically checking an e-mail account? Instead of listening to a favorite tune, we might actually have to converse with total strangers.

Now, I know there are people out there who choose not to own cell phones or iPods or use the Internet, and others can safely balance the three in their lives. To you in these categories, you have my utmost respect. However, the rest of us (myself included) rely on these latest breakthroughs in technology to survive. Is this healthy? Is this why there are few sitcoms that continue for more than a couple of episodes? I may have found the answer to these after only an hour of watching reruns in my rundown, musty hotel room ó I had to come up with a way to entertain myself. Whoa, talk about a shocker. I found that those of us sickly attached to these items need them as forms of entertainment. Believe it or not, there was a time when we had to use our imaginations to stay occupied. I think the good old times need to come back. We need to relearn how to use our creative side, regardless of the new pictures on a friendís profile from last weekendís kegger or the ever-vibrating and rap-singing ringtones from our phones and players.

So, for those of you without a cell phone, MP3 player or the Internet, I applaud you. For the others who can lead a successful life with that perfect balance of technology, I envy you. For the rest of us, I have a challenge. For an entire day, leave the cell phone and iPod turned off; after an exhausting day of classes, keep the computer in standby for the night. Yes, it may be hard, but I think this will help us all. Slowly, we will cut the umbilical cord between technology and ourselves, once again allowing our brains to entertain us. Our creativity will shine out and possibly steer us down new, brighter paths. But most of all, it may allow us to maintain our sanity if we were separated from them for one short weekend.

Joel Schildgen is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]