Journey to 30
Day 8: Putting Down Technology
One of the best and most challenging years of these short thirty was not so very long ago. I had taken a transfer at work to a much slower store than the one I had previously managed in order to be closer to my family. On a whim, my roommate thankfully agreed to join me considering I had no idea how I was going to make ends meet. A slower store, I was told, meant a cut in pay, although I was moving to a town that was three times the cost in rent than the town I had presently been in.
How we ended up Technologically Free:
As we made the ten hour drive we received a phone call stating that the renters who had already cashed our deposit had changed their minds as they were concerned about never having the opportunity to meet us. Our real estate agent was a family friend and was afraid of just picking out a house for us based on our wants and preferences, for fear of being hated. I pulled into my grandmother’s driveway that night famished and drained. I was officially homeless with three dogs, a cat, a roommate and a 24′ moving truck.
My mother luckily had made the trip with us as well and we had all three planned to find a list of houses on craigslist and move in that day. On my way to pick up my mom and roommate that next morning I receive a call from my boss saying that the fire inspector should be arriving any minute, it will just be a quick five minute errand to wait on him. It turned out to be a ten hour day I was trapped in the store while my mother and roommate searched for a home.
Mom called in the early afternoon, “I think we have found the house Jessica,” but her voice was tentative with a hint of humor. “Now don’t turn it down right away, it’s a country home. There is no central AC, there’s a roll away washer (meaning it rolled away from the wall so that a tube would conveniently click into the faucet in the kitchen sink), and it uses a water well.” She went on, “but it’s on over an acre of land so the dogs will love it, your neighbors have horses, and there are three bedrooms and a nursery off of a bedroom that you could turn into an office for writing, and it’s pretty much the only thing you can afford with pets.”
As a millennial I was in shock, no ac? I reluctantly agreed so after the landlord treated the carpets, and having to tow our moving van out of the ditch we were setting up our inflatable mattresses by 2 am that night.
That next day while I was working on my store set up my roommate was calling every cable and internet provider in town. Even clear wire had no coverage in the exact location of our home. “I don’t know a way around it Jess, no internet and no cable providers are even able to cover us due to our distance from civilization.” You have got to be kidding me I thought, that’s impossible. No netflix or hulu? No real access to my blogs or Facebook? This was panning out to be the worst move ever.
Living Without Technology
My cousin who came and stayed with me for two months looked over at me one day as I read a book with a cup of tea, “This had been nice, a detox from technology.” It had not occurred to me that my own prison was in fact a blessing, almost a cleansing.
I spent my mornings having tea on the front porch, watching the flowers bloom, the dew on the window, the clouds and the tree. Early evening I would walk out on the land and watch the horses wander around on our neighboring lot. I knew my neighbors and they knew me. Due to my distance I ate more inside, spent more nights relaxing. I purchased rabbit ears for the television, though I rarely used them except to watch the Dallas Maverick win the 2011 NBA finals while chowing down on reheated chicken spaghetti. If I was really desperate for a television show I would stop by Fry’s electronics on my way home and just purchase an entire series on DVD.
When Stephen was home we were inspired to get out of the house and see the city. Every morning was introduced with the voice of Frank Sinatra to accompany those dew lined windows, and a quick run of cleaning the house. The baristas at Starbucks knew us by name. The girls in the Houston galleria bath and bodyworks knew to expect us at least once a month. We visited parks, beaches, museums, shops, and great restaurants. Instead of paying upwards for 3-400 dollars a month on cable and internet we were using that money to experience day to day life. At night we would drive thru somewhere or fix a great dinner and curl up on the couch to our 6 season collection of Dawson’s Creek until finally passing out.
In my detox I was so much more energetic and I had a deeper connection with those around me. Despite a front door that never shut, a toilet that was difficult to flush, a dryer hose that was constantly falling off, and a lawn that was out of this world insane to upkeep, I was happy and free.
Much like all good things it had to end. After 13 months I bid adieu to Stephen as he endeavored to move back home and I was transferred to Dallas with a promotion I was not expecting (nor wanting for that matter).
It’s okay to put down the phone sometimes. It’s important to walk away from technology and actually experience your surroundings. Netflix shouldn’t be such a way of life.