Weire well into the second year of the Great Escape from the urban jungle of the National Capital Region yet, as I sit in front of multiple computer screens with news from a satellite news channel playing on the TV in the den, I have to wonder: Is escape really possible in this technology driven world?
One escape disappeared this week when a new Verizon cell tower erected just outside the town of Floyd brought clear wireless phone service to our house. For the past 18-months, we escaped the ringing and vibration of electronic messaging but the screen on my two phones I carry and the one that Amy sometimes remembers to keep charged and in her purse now show multiple bars and strong reception.
Yeah, I know. We could turn the phones off but thatis not easy for someone who spent so many years in the business of journalism and communication.
A year ago, I threw away my Blackberry, known among users as a "Crackberry" because the wireless email device is truly addictive. I carried one for more than a decade but I declared independence from the electronic tether.
In less than a year, however, I had a Treo 700 on my belt, another wireless email device and phone. The Treo, amazingly, also allows me to login to my web servers and perform routine maintenance. When a client ran into an email problem last week, I sat at a table in a Subway restaurant in Galax and logged into his email server to fix the problem.
But on this pleasant Saturday morning, with the sun filtering through the trees and windows, I have to wonder: Have I succeeded in slowing down a life that had become too filled with pressure, stress and activity or am I falling back into the same trap?
The Treo allows me to turn off real-time access to email and check it on my schedule, which I do unless I know something important may need attention while I’m away from home or the studio.
I turn my cell phones off on weekends and often let the phone at home ring; checking voice mail at my convenience and not at the timetable of whomever’s calling. But is it enough? I don’t know. I’m not sure I ever will. I spent 40 years on the run, living out of suitcases, jumping on a plane to head off to one hot-spot or another, chasing news and feeding my adrenaline junkie habit. It will take more than 18 months to kick that habit — if, indeed, I ever can. Cold-turkey is not, I believe, possible for those accustomed to life at warp speed. I could say more but I gotta go. Busy day ahead.