Favorite

Unplugged 

Though our smartphone might as well be glued to our hand these days, The Observer lived until six years ago with nary a cell phone at all, much less one of the smart variety.

Though our smartphone might as well be glued to our hand these days, The Observer lived until six years ago with nary a cell phone at all, much less one of the smart variety. Hard to imagine, youngsters, but there was once a time when everybody — short of cops, ambulance drivers, truckers and Trumpians so rich they were able to afford a 10-pound mobile phone in a bag — went for long stretches completely incommunicado. These days, we can't even run down to the corner store without our pocket computer. To think The Observer and Spouse once struck out for the wilds of Iowa with only our wits, a map and the kindness of strangers with landlines along the road between us and ruin. Those were the days!

Yours Truly has threatened for years to write a story for the Times in which we go digital cold turkey for a month, including attempting to do the job of a reporter with only a rolodex and telephone, like our inky forebears. We honestly don't know if we could pull that one off.

Speaking of: Little Rock artist V.L. Cox, whose exhibition "Murder of Crows" about race and sex discrimination just closed (see the March 3 issue of the Times for more on the show), decided she needed a rest from manning a gallery and talking art for several weeks. So, she decided to do something drastic: turn off her cellphone and avoid Facebook and the Internet. "I knew it was time to step back," she wrote, "when I started thinking that the purchase of new keyboards came with the instructions that 'you must leave all civility behind while operating.' " She also thought keeping a diary of her withdrawal symptoms would be a good idea, and shared them with The Observer — through email, it must be noted:

"Day 1: I keep looking and picking up my phone (every 3 minutes). Forced myself to go mow the lawn and work the garden while still staring at my phone as it sat inanimate on the picnic table outside. Turned it OFF for the first time in forever when I went to bed. Slept like the dead for the first time in months.

"Day 2: Still fighting the urge to pick up my phone, but can at least leave it on the kitchen table and walk into another room without feeling completely 'naked.' Raked the yard (after just recklessly mowing over all the limbs the day before thinking I might be missing something on my phone) and felt pride in my yard after 1.5 years. Took the time to cook a delicious healthy dinner (instead of eating out and staring at my phone) and turned it off when I went to bed. I slept like the dead for the second time in months.

"Day 3: Woke up feeling rested and full of energy, without my eyes sticking together. ... My eyes are not dry! I constantly have to keep moisture drops in my pocket and in my pillowcase. I HAVE LOST A POUND AFTER MOVING AROUND MORE, and I noticed that Sherrie [V.L.'s partner] is funny again (God, she's a riot!). My vocabulary and spelling skills are also sloooowly coming back (love/hate relationship with spellcheck.) I predict Day 4 will be positive as well and today I'm back in the studio again starting some new projects while on hiatus and have chosen to only be around immediate friends and family. Bottom line, I need a break from the blatant 'intentional' ignorance spewing across bandwidth and the airwaves so I can focus and feel human again. The good news? So far it's working."

Sidenote: Later on Day 3, Cox made a trip to the Habitat for Humanity thrift store on Pike Avenue in North Little Rock, where she heard a woman cry out that her car had just been stolen. Without thinking, Cox hopped in her hot-rod Dodge Caravan and gave chase through Baring Cross, but lost the car thief by stopping for red lights. Cox apologized to police for getting in their business. Convinced she wasn't involved, the police moved on, and caught the thief in Little Rock.

"It's amazing what is really going on in the world around you if you just look up from a cell phone screen," she said.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in The Observer

  • The sweet hereafter

    This week, the Arkansas Times falls back on that oldest of old chestnuts: a recipe issue. Being who we are, of course, we had to put a twist on that; namely, the fact that most of the recipes you'll find in these pages are courtesy of people who have shuffled off to that great kitchen in the sky, where the Good Lord is always whipping up new things in his toque and apron, running the great mixers of genetics and time, maybe presenting the batter-dipped beaters and bowls to Jesus for a lick down.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation