January 24, 2005

A 'Luddite' Weekend

Main Entry: Ludd·ite
Pronunciation: 'l&-"dIt
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps from Ned Ludd, 18th century Leicestershire workman who destroyed machinery: one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest; broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change. (Thanks Merriam Webster Online!)
After talking about it on and off for months, the partner and I decided to take on a weekend of reduced technology and proclaimed it a Luddite Weekend. OK, so we don't actually hate technology or oppose change, and don't really identify with the thuggishness mentioned here, but the spirit of the thing was to set aside some of the external noise we're used to. In practical terms, this meant that between Friday and Sunday evening, we opted for:

  • No TV /movies/DVDs
  • No Radio/CDs/MP3s
  • No Phones (home or cellular)
  • No Computer

Maybe we should've called it Neo-Luddite Light.

So did I learn anything new? Not really. But some of the things I've often thought were confirmed:

Out for brunch on Saturday, we found ourselves talking much louder than was our norm, just so we could hear ourselves over the restaurant music. I'm sure they were trying to provide atmosphere, but what it actually did was intrude.

It IS possible to go a whole weekend without checking your email or surfing the news. Yes, there was news I missed, but no, it didn't make a difference that I read it on Monday and not Sunday.

Not having a cell phone on at all times demands that you make specific plans, and (gasp!) show up on time, or even early. Who knew?

And it turns out I'm not the only one who has a mental soundtrack.

The last song my brain called up? The Breakfast Club's Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds. It's still with me today, only it keeps seguing to The Cure's Pictures of You.

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