I watched the bars slowly vanish…down to three, then two, then a faint little dot–hardly even a bar at all–which provides just enough signal on the phone to start to download that must-read webpage your friend emailed you, and then fizzle out. The fourth bar should never be allowed to count as a bar.
It’s forced unplugging. And i feels so different to me than unplugging by choice.
When I decide to put my phone away for an hour, I know, that like that a spare bar of chocolate in the butter compartment of the fridge, it’s always there should I need it. But at times when that final dot of a bar disappears and the eerie NO SIGNAL appears in its place, it’s a different feeling entirely.
In New York City, we all joke about the “dead blocks” – those short walks through Soho or the Flatiron District in which you know you’ll have to put down the phone for a whole 60 seconds until you arrive at the next corner. But this week, on vacation with my family in the wilds of Northeastern Vermont, somewhere between Nowhere You’ve Ever Heard Of and That Town That’s Not So Far From that Other Town, this thing happens often. A dead zone can be an entire neighborhood or (gasp) an entire town.
You can read more about my mostly pleasant (if admittedly a wee bit bit disconcerting) forced unplugging experience in Vermont this week over on KatieCouric.com today where I’m going to be contributing somewhat regularly. (Pretty excited about that!)
I’d love to know your thoughts too. As people who are clearly committed to the online space, either as readers or content creators (or probably both), can you unplug? An hour? A weekend? How long until you start to get twitchy? And is forced unplugging somehow different than you making the conscious decision to shut off your own phone for a period of time?
What a world we live in, eh?