So I lost my iPhone before going on vacation last week. By lost I mean left it on the toilet roll in the ladies room at Union Station because I was thinking about how much I wanted a Cinnabon.
“Where the F is my phone?!” I say to Danny while we’re on the train 3 minutes from blast off.
I’m doing a routine purse-check for the iPhone (which I do every time I have mental down time to see what all you fine folks are doing on Facebook), and it dawns on me.
I suggest we call up customer service and get someone to fetch it from the loo.
Instead, Danny takes off and runs to Concourse Hall and… into the bathroom? I imagine him shouldering all the stall doors open and scaring all the ladies until one forks over my phone.
3 minutes isn’t long. The conductor says the doors are closing. And they do. I wait for Danny to come back and pry the pneumatic doors open with my life line to the internets.
We start to roll forward and Danny shows up from another car. Oh thank god. Wait — where’s my phone?!
What if someone posts another This Advertising Life GIF I need to see?
What if someone sends a message, comments on a post, shares a cool article, and/or confirms my likeability by liking something I posted?!
What if I need to look up what a mirken is?!!
That first day, like an itchy addict, I notice a bizarre compulsion to think about the phone.
It happens when there’s nothing immediately happening. Or if I’m standing around by myself. Or sitting in the car.
Nothing is happening –> Neurons don’t know what to do with themselves –> Neurons complain to arms but arms know there’s no phone in purse –> Neurons start poking walls of brain –> Neurons: Meeeeehhhh entertain us!
Fuck you, neurons! Get used to having a less-than-explosions level of mental stimulation!
They were like junk-food junkies having their french fries taken away and replaced with apples.
Does this affect you?
Maybe you’re like me; your brain’s pleasure centres fire every time you see notifications on Facebook or Twitter or email or texts. Weeeeeee someone wants to talk to me!
Or maybe you think you’ll miss out on something if you don’t check your tweets.
Or maybe you feel awkward waiting in line at the grocery store looking at your shoes.
If not, I encourage you to try this:
Go get a coffee, or if you’re adventurous, lunch. By yourself. And don’t bring a book or paper or magazine — just have a sit and see how long it takes before you want to check your phone.
If it’s not for the instant gratification of information, or the false feeling of connectedness to others, or an oversensitivity to boredom, I’d venture to say we at least feel very awkward looking like we have nothing to do around others and would rather busy ourselves with this:
I’m happy to say that after a day of noticing my urges for constant hits of internet, I stopped having them for the rest of the vacation.
They’re not gone forever, but I did give less of a poop than usual about some of the tech updates in my newsfeed today, including this one about retail coat hangers that display Facebook Likes so you can fit in even easier with popular opinion.
In any case, I resolve to spend less time in the digital world and more time in the real one.
Here are some exercises you can do with me, if you, too, have been addicted to the internet since 1994:
Tech and the web are undeniably valuable in our lives, and I’m not about to become a hermit. I’m just starting to realize I’ve been consuming digital information like I eat kettle corn (absentmindedly and staring) and my brain is going to get fat and lazy.
As someone who revels in my senses, experiences, and real life connections, I’d like to shut off a lot of those virtual fixes that I’ve let stand in for engaging in real life, curiosity, and creativity.
Picture all the time you spend consuming content through a screen as if the screen was blank, and you’ve been staring at a flat box.
I dunno about you, but that suddenly makes me want to unplug.
(But keep reading my blog )
F the Desk
- Barbara Baron
Check out this amazing article from Tiny Buddha about making a leap when you don’t know where you’ll land.
Why? Because you never know what you can do until you do it.
See how you can Get Started Before You Feel Ready.
The advertising business is a scam.
Linds Redding has done quite the tour of the industry as a creative. Now with inoperable cancer he’s bowed out of the game at the age of 51 and written a plain and cynical grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-shake-you-out-of-it article about the perspective he’s gained on working in advertising.
I absolutely love it. There is no better account out there about how I feel about what I was doing.
Is he just a creative dinosaur pissing and moaning about how the digital age and the economy have affected the business?
I’ll bet most ad people get where he’s coming from. Most take it as the nature of the business and get on with it. Even better, there are those who manage to keep this perspective and stay in it and enjoy it. But the rest of us, when the business encourages us to chronically lose sight of our priorities, see less of our kids growing up, postpone vacations, cancel on friends, get cranky with our partners, and run ourselves sick so we get enough clever scripts about chewing gum in front of client before the end of the week, well, there’s no statuette or dollar figure that’ll make that kind of unpaid overtime worth it in the end.
Maybe I’m biased and was destined to turn on my own career. Once, as a toddler, I was left at daycare until it got dark because my account director mom had to stay back and run a research group about Canesten. But I digress.
Every job has people that bitch about it. This is different.
Linds explains it so truthfully and wittily — especially for an art director! – that I’d love to quote the whole thing.
Aside from how he explains how creative people let themselves get conned into the business, this bit in particular stands out when Linds asks himself how he stuck it out:
“I mostly hid my insecurity and fear from everyone but those closest to me, and ran fast enough that I would never be found out. The other thing I did, I now discover, was to convince myself that there was nothing else, absolutely nothing, I would rather be doing. That I had found my true calling in life, and that I was unbelievably lucky to be getting paid – most of the time – for something that I was passionate about, and would probably be doing in some form or other anyway.
It turns out that my training and experience had equipped me perfectly for this epic act of self-deceit. This was my gig. My schtick. Constructing a compelling and convincing argument to buy, from the thinnest of evidence was what we did. “Don’t sell the sausage. Sell the sizzle” as we were taught at ad school.
Countless late nights and weekends, holidays, birthdays, school recitals and anniversary dinners were willingly sacrificed at the altar of some intangible but infinitely worthy higher cause. It would all be worth it in the long run…
This was the con. Convincing myself that there was nowhere I’d rather be was just a coping mechanism. I can see that now. It wasn’t really important. Or of any consequence at all really. How could it be. We were just shifting product. Our product, and the clients. Just meeting the quota. Feeding the beast as I called it on my more cynical days.
So was it worth it?
Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling.”
Read the whole article!
Also, check out Linds’ blog as he battles cancer.