Thanks to Brian I discovered The National Day of Unplugging – or what I prefer to think of as Digital Detox Day. Methinks I’ll give this a try, I said to myself, and full of enthusiasm, rushed to convey the news to OH. ‘Hmm,’ said they, ‘this hath the very sound and trick of speech of that stuff on the Talmud I’ve been reading. Let me see…’ and lo! we discovered that digital detox day is in fact the same the Jewish Sabbat, only once a year rather than every week. The idea is simple; from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday you turn off all devices and connect with other people. And so I set an alarm for 5.37, then turned off my phone (the battery was dead anyway) replaced my laptop with a book and kept the TV dark. It helped that I was going out on Friday night, but all day Saturday I read, contemplated, focussed on my food instead of my phone and had actual, real-life conversations.
At the end of it I could feel the difference in my brain. At first I got all twitchy and reached for my phone every few minutes to check the weather or look someone up on imdb or see if there was a reply to my email – but after a few hours I got used to not having it and began actually to focus on what I was doing. Instead of reading the paper with my phone and laptop on and switching from one to the other, I just read the paper. I focussed entirely on reading the paper. Then in the afternoon OH and I went to our favourite cafe and talked – no phones, no distractions – and it was the best conversation we’d had in a long while.
If you’ve been following OH’s blog (and who hasn’t?) you’ll know that their current obsession is following the Talmud, so we’ve decided to do the detox thing together every week. Which means that from now on every weekend, from sunset on Friday to the same time on Saturday I will not be available via phone, Facebook, email, Skype or What’s app, so if you want to talk to me you’ll have to come over. There’s an excellent list here of what to do with your time during this period – it’s very positive and includes such things as ‘drink wine’ and ‘get outside’. Much better than a litany of thou shalt not‘s.
And as a sign of my commitment to reading more, I’ve bought a floor lamp. It’s very bright…