Friday, January 25, 2013

Tech-nically speaking

Lately I have come to the realization that I have a complete love/hate relationship with technology. To clarify, I use the word technology as a blanket referring to my computer, my phone and all of the various apps, sites, and social media available therein. And I use the word complete because I accept the relationship, warts and all.

Depending on the day, I have a widely varying attitude towards these gifts/curses of the modern era. Both my interest and my dedication come in waves. I can go days without checking Facebook or answering emails. And then there are the days where my phone seems glued to my hand as I switch furiously between various social media, washing my brain in a mix of necessary and unnecessary information. Of course if you were to ask for an example of this necessary information of which I speak, I would have to admit there is not so much. Although I do occasionally get an email with a new address or something like that. See, necessary!

I also have a huge double standard when it comes to this part-time addiction. Basically, if you want to check your phone, do it while I am also checking my phone. Otherwise it's rude. I hate when the person I am attempting to engage with is busy reading emails, playing games, checking Facebook, etc. But when I am doing it, I am oblivious to it's rudeness, which makes it OK.

I only just opened a Twitter account, so now in addition to a quick perusing of what my Facebook friends are doing, I can also check in with the various celebs and handful of friends I follow on Twitter. This is not a good use of my time. I know it. But down time like the handful of minutes I spend on the toilet or in an elevator need not be without any entertainment these days. My problem comes when I am using these things too much in "not down time."

Me (or someone like me) enjoying some down time

The addiction to technology came to a head for me only recently. About a year and a half ago, with the blush of new motherhood still visible on my face, I found myself with a lot of that down time I referred to earlier. It was also known as the time while my daughter was feeding. It happened often. I was alone. Reading an actual book was sometimes too difficult. So there I sat, just me and my phone... oh, and the kid of course. But she was busy. I needed something to occupy my time beyond Facebook and email. And that's when I discovered Bakery Story. 

I didn't know what Bakery Story was at the time, but I knew all about it's type. I had for many years gotten various requests via Facebook for contributions to people's farms and restaurants, often ending in a "ville," but I didn't know too much about it. I didn't have any interest myself. Until, of course, I found myself with a solid half hour to kill approximately every three hours. 

I will also throw in this fact about me: I have never paid for an app. I have owned an iPhone for approximately five years and I have never paid money for an app. Seriously. Never.
-"not even the ones that are 99 cents?"
-no, not even those
-"what about _______, or any of the other really cool apps that people use all the time?"
-nope, none of them. Although I did get a free trial version of Face Swap that I enjoy on occasion. I mean, what's not to love, you can literally "swap" the faces in any of your photos. It's like the movie Face Off but with my friends and family. I can take his face, off. It's amazing. And free. 

So, there I was with time to waste and a free app called Bakery Story staring me down from the list of free apps in the app store. The way I understood it, I would get to open my own bakery. Sounds interesting enough. Install.

Hello friend... or so I thought.

I pick up the story approximately one year later when I regained consciousness. Thinking back, there were definitely multiple incidents during that year of my husband berating me for such egregious time wasting. Oh, sure, but reading live commentary on the football game you're actually watching live seems like a super use of your time. (Deflection is a gift of mine.) In addition, there were several embarrassing moments when someone asked me what I was playing and I uncomfortably had to tell them what I was doing. Busted.

Basically, I own a fake bakery in my phone that people I have never met visit and complement my decor by sending me gifts of brownies and chocolate milk shakes and that my white chocolate cupcakes would be ready in five minutes, which leaves me enough time to switch my tables for more seasonally appropriate ones while replacing the wallpaper, after I install a sno-cone maker to make rainbow sno-cones, thereby increasing my daily output of treats and making my bakery the best damn bakery in this whole cyber bakery community world thing. Each time I explained it I inched towards the truth. I had a problem that no ooey gooey chocolate raspberry fudge would fix. Bakery Story had to go.

And so it was, approximately a year after downloading it, I checked in on my bakery for the last time. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't actually erase the app from my phone. It's still there, the icon taunting me as I play Words with Friends. But I know I can't go down that road anymore. Even when my phone tells me someone else has sent me a new gift, I know I can't go see what it is... that is one slippery frosted slope. 

So while I am aware that my tendencies are towards mind-numbing addiction, when it comes to technology, I'll have to stick to the middle of the road. I have to continue to hate myself for using it too much and missing precious moments playing with my daughter. And I have continue to have a smug superiority reserved for those setting world records or curing diseases in those moments when I am able to not use it for a few hours. I love technology and I hate myself for it. If only there was a way for me to unburden myself of all these thoughts while telling everyone I know...
Score one more for technology.

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