Unplugged! Two Weeks of Misery

13 Dec

Having a meltdown from lack of technology? You are not alone.

Life without gadgets? Preposterous! Why would anyone want to go outside and expose himself to sunlight? Or visit borrrrring people in real life? Well, for the sake of writing about it, of course. And because it’s good for you (like eating vegetables). So, come on, suck it up, because you know it’s time to unplug yourself from all your electronic gadgets. Tell us what you do with your time after that, and whether it was worth it. Take the pledge:
” I _____do hereby voluntarily renounce my technological activities for a period of not less than one week/month for the purpose of experiencing the sensation of being unplugged and reporting on said condition and the resulting side effects for educational purposes.” Read what happened when our local gaming addict/writer Hunter took the challenge. — Chris

A few weeks ago, the dictator of the TeenWebZine my boss Chris told me I’d be perfect for an article we’d be doing to start off the site. I was excited! Then I realized that it involved “unplugging,” and detaching myself from technology. What am I, Amish?!? Knowing there was no way out, I did what any self-respecting gaming addict would do in this situation: I procrastinated. Then the Vocal Music teacher at my school demanded that the seventh graders all put on a needlessly entertaining music program. (Why do we even need these musicals? We have enough music and entertainment from the Internet!) For about a song-and-a-half, I didn’t sing. But then, I noticed Dad holding a video camera, recording for my mom, who was lucky enough to not be able to make it to the program. Afterwards, I lost technology privileges ‘cause of my “poor decisions.” That’s when I realized my mind had been made up for me. I had to bite the bullet and UNPLUG.

On the first day, I had nothing to do but stare up at the ceiling. I noticed that a certain area in the basement had an odd faded spot near the computer. Then I looked down. I craved to check my email. I yearned to watch a funny Youtube video. Heck, I’d even settle for a round of solitaire, but alas, I was under oath. I knew that these two weeks would be very, very, long. I managed to entertain myself with some books, and I often decided to take a jog around the block. But finally, I discovered that that weekend, my Boy Scout troop was going on a campout.

The weekend expedition was a healthy break from the tantalizing beckoning of electronic devices. In fact, the only electronics that I think we used were our flashlights. The campout tested our survival skills by having us build our own shelters. I built a low- -to-the-ground cocoon-type hovel. It shielded me from the wind, and it kept warmth in pretty well, so I had a good time. Sadly, I had to go back home on Sunday, and be subjected to constant taunting by technology.

The day I returned home, I discovered the one thing more boring than losing technology for two weeks: being dragged along to the mall for an hour. Well at least I got to go to the food court, so I can’t complain. Oh, wait! Yes I can! I got a terrible case of indigestion after the plate of spaghetti from the food court!
The next day, I learned after school that our computer was acting up. Dad took it to his friend, Derek the computer guru, so thankfully, I had one less distraction for the next day-and-a-half. When Derek returned, my dad checked his email while I fought off tears. When he and the computer guru went upstairs, I just stood there for a minute, trying to keep myself from the computer. I even heard it calling my name… “Hunter! Hunter!” Well, it was either the computer or Dad calling me upstairs because Mom was home. I crossed my fingers and ran upstairs, hoping it was the latter. Thankfully, it was. That night, she showed me the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. Finished it in an hour. Not bad, but chuckling at Greg’s ridiculous escapades and morbidly dysfunctional family could not distract me from our repaired computer.

How long could this go on? Only until the weekend. Then it would be two weeks without technology. Of course, being a caveman has its benefits, like how I now have witnessed more beauty in nature, and I have also taken new interests in other sections of the Reader’s Digest, always an interesting read. A truly indescribable experience it is, unplugging. For an interesting sense of reality, try it sometime. You might just like it. If you don’t… you’re probably a lot like me.    — Hunter

5 Responses to “Unplugged! Two Weeks of Misery”

  1. Dot Davis December 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    “Making bad decisions”! Oh, there’s a classic (and funny!) euphemism of Modern Parenting. Back in my day, we just got busted for being “fools” or “meatheads”—and certainly given no credit for having done any bona fide decision-making! (More like: “What on Earth were you THINKING???”, “Where was your HEAD??”, “I told you NEVER to do that AGAIN!!!”, etc..)

    Anyway, that’s a really enjoyable and interesting write-up on your experience. I agree that two weeks would be a long time to be off of technology! I suspect we’ll be seeing better and better decisions from you “going forward”. 🙂 Mostly, I’m glad that you found the positive side and, especially, that you never caved into the temptation to sneak. Atta boy.

    • teenwebzine December 17, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Aunt Dottie! Also, thanks for being our first commenter!

      • Dot Davis December 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

        My pleasure! 🙂

  2. DeAnn Allison-Cudly December 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    What a Christmas Eve Morning treat! I love reading about techies being “stranded” without their electrical connections…It’s ironic when you think about how many connections are lost when we priviledge electronic connections over the old school variety. Kudos for taking the unplugged challenge, Hunter! Sometimes the long way, the “hard” way, really is more satisfying!Perhaps it’s because, as the Hokey Pokey informs us, we “put our whole selves in,” we become more fully invested, especially time wise. You make me think twice about the commercial I just saw a few days ago, the one where the family sits down to write Christmas cards online and is finished in about three minutes!!! I know we all want to save time, but your story suggests that perhaps spending time, giving whatever we’re doing our full love and attention, might be a richer goal. Thank-you for writing such a thought provoking essay and sharing your ideas with the world! I’m printing out a copy of your story because I’d like to share it with the most plugged in person I know: My sister:) And, I actually want to read it aloud, from a hard copy, in real time!!! However, as much as I like to romanticize doing things the old fashioned way, I’m keeping my microwave and washing machine!

    Bravo, Hunter!

    DeAnn Allison-Cudly

  3. purplebird7 September 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Where is my icon?

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