For people who know me, I am terrible with dates. If I forget your birthday it is not because I don’t love you, it is because I forget everyone’s birthday. I have to stop and think when mine is and how old I will be turning. I sometimes say, “I can’t justify buying cards because they just get thrown away and harm the environment,” when really I just don’t think about it until it’s too late to put one in the mail.
So in true Jason fashion, I remembered the birthday of a family member while I was away in New Hampshire with friends (complete with good food, laughs, hikes, making fire from scratch and absolutely no access to internet or phone). We spent most of the drive up north commenting on how lovely it would be to not have any service and to be unplugged from reality. I even shut off my phone while I still had service in anticipation of my time away from being accessible all of the time via multiple mediums.
So there I was, in New Hampshire with no cell service and a burning desire to wish someone a happy birthday. I crept to the highest point in the house while no one was looking and extended my arm toward the sky in hopes of grabbing at least one bar of service that would carry a text.
As I was returning my phone to my bag, I started to wonder about emails that might have come through, or text messages that might be waiting. My mind drifted to my recent Facebook status, which was quite witty if I might say so myself. I wonder how many likes it has? What if someone stole the mayorship of Dunkin’ Donuts from me on foursquare?
I was in an outright panic at that moment thinking about what I was missing out on, but I would have to live with the mystery until the ride home. I will admit that it was a distracting thought for much of the weekend. Then on the trip home, I waited for my messages to come pouring in. I will have so much to catch up on during the drive, I thought. I will be so busy!
And then: Full service. No messages. I had missed absolutely nothing. Not even an email informing me that Crate and Barrel was having a 25% off spring sale. My online ego took a bit of a blow as I realized I had disappeared for two days and the world didn’t even notice.
I grew up before the social media revolution and before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket. When I was 16, my family got the first “family cell phone” that we passed around to whomever was going the farthest from the house. It was the length of a king-sized Snickers bar and had an antenna that extended beyond the top of your head. I hated carrying it around and didn’t like that you could call me whenever you wanted. “No, grandma, mom doesn’t have the phone today, you can probably call the house and get her,” was a common response when the family cell phone rang.
Ha! Even then no one wanted to call me now that I think of it!
Please don’t feel bad for me! I don’t feel unloved or unimportant due to the lack of messages I receive. Rather, I consider myself lucky that I can take time away from the world and not miss too much, and now I feel more inclined to take those moments of peace when I can get them.
I have the same wish for each of you as well. But feel free to follow me on Twitter @jcampbellfoster because even I appreciate having a solid number of followers waiting to listen 🙂