Thursday, 22 April 2010

Take Back Your Life

There are any number of reasons why cell phones are number one on my ‘kill’ list, not the least of those being the way they turn a fairly normal, connected and aware individual into an instant dead zone zombie, existing in an alternate configuration of reality and surrounded by a personal space in which no one else actually registers.

I mean, you must have seen it. In any social situation, or gods forefend even a boardroom meeting, you’ll see this relatively accessible, awake human being transformed by the ringing of a bell into a shambling denizen of , if not the netherworld, at least a corner of the cosmos not immediately apparent to the rest of us.

A woman ahead of me on the street will suddenly press her ear to her phone and begin wandering in circles, talking as if a half a dozen people hadn’t just narrowly averted a collision with her.

A man driving home in rush hour traffic will be transmogrified on the instant into a lethal demon, his normally-competent brain too subdivided to avoid swerving into the young mother in the next car.

An interesting and compelling conversation will suddenly fall apart in embarrassment as one of the main protagonists answers his buzzing pocket. What a farce. What a bunch of rude barbarians we have become, all at the behest of a tiny, portable communication device.

But what has set me off today is yet another aspect of these infernal devices, often touted as a feature – and that is their ability to receive and send emails. To and from the office. In your out-of-office time, yet.

Wait, people – I thought we were supposed to savour the multitudinous aspects and formats of this incarnation we have taken on, this time? Since when has it become a virtue to be always and forever connected to your place of work - nibbling at your nervous system, undermining your relationships, taking you over as a corporate undead citizen forever and ever, amen?

Cut the Power. Kill the Machines.