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Disconnecting to Connect

Blackberry. No…Not the fruit which is a gorgeous little deep eggplant-colored jewel, has health benefits and is just downright delicious. No. I’m speaking of the technological marvels. Some of us might have recently experienced an outage of over 24 hours. We frantically called AT&T, RIM and maybe some self-help groups or 12-Step Program sponsors. They were sympathetic…but ineffectual. Panic rose to the surface…Capitol Hill was in an uproar…the world seemed to slow to a near-halt. Are those claw marks on the wall?????? In the world of handheld offense, I have to admit to being an offender. The thing is glued to my hand. While I have never interrupted an important meeting or worse, an intimate conversation to check my ever-present little “wireless friend” needlessly, it’s an ever-present sidekick. I do wonder, when I hear that bee-like buzz calling my name, who is sending me a message. The curiosity sometimes is almost too much to bear…especially if awaiting word from that ‘special someone’ or important business colleague. Another thing….the SPAM. While most of this is blocked in standard computer email, it still manages to invade the ‘small screen.’ How disappointing is it when you finally get to check your long anticipated messages expecting a convivial word from a loved one or a new piece of business, and what do you encounter? Something like “Canadian Pharmaceuticals at Reasonable Prices!” or “Electronics on SALE!” or even “Hot Sex with our Pills!!” Not that I have a problem with medicinal needs or sales of any kind, but first of all, can you say “counterfeit?” And second, I do not find your pills, or anyone else’s, for that matter, sexually attractive. I kind of prefer homo sapiens to capsules or little dissolving disks. Call me crazy. So here’s the issue, and there are a few. While Blackberrys, iPhones, and all the rest allow us to immediately be in touch with our inner workaholic and social butterfly, when are we too available? Is there a limit to the communication? I, for one, have actually been called by, and reached for, my Blackberry from my bed in the middle of the night. Yes, I have. So have many of you. You know who you are. I have never, however, checked my messages while on a date, at a theatrical event, etc. Many have. Rude. Nothing says “I’m fascinated by, and adore you” more than having your romantic partner check messages across the candlelit dinner table or in the middle of a conversation. Even worse, texting an answer or a message. “Gee, thanks guy (or woman depending on your preference), I’m so glad to know that you’re more interested in a little electronic fruit and everything on it than me. Love you too.” I don’t know about you, but I remember a time when none of us had these. When we could drive, sleep, walk, dine, and enjoy one another’s scintillating conversation without having to speak to five other people at the same time or extending our office or personal availability to all to wherever we happen to be at the time. Are we now all slaves to the information highway? I would have that answer for you, but you’ll have to hold on...I have to check my messages….