"Select one day of the week and remove yourself from the maw. Stop working. Don't answer your email. Ignore your voice mail. Turn off your mobile phone." (Pink 239).
In my AP English class last week, we were given a rather unconventional assignment. Because reading Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind was one of our summer assignments, we were told to select one of Pink's "Portfolio" assignments, do it, and write about it. I selected the Secular Sabbath.
In the spirit of Ramadan (which, if you didn't know, just passed), I decided that (though I am not Muslim), Tuesday, September 14th, was a good day to fast. Of course, I ate that day. I consumed three square meals and the occasional snack, but I cut myself off completely from the technological world. Now, as you can see in the quote above, Pink suggests his readers "stop working". Because skipping a day of school for an English assignment seemed an unworthy excuse, I let that one settle onto the back burner.
In this outstandingly technological age, stepping away from electronics is difficult. But I did it. I turned off my cellphone and left it on my sister's dresser (which is strange, but I guess I was passing her room as I left for school in the morning), left my laptop alone (coincidentally, our internet connection cut out Tuesday), avoided television, and didn't touch my iPod (which I couldn't find until Thursday, anyway).
Not really. But, because I didn't answer any of my mom's texts or calls, I didn't know that I was supposed to go to the grocery store after school. Needless to say, she was angry, and I bought lunch the day after. The rest, however, was peaceful. School became a little more enjoyable, because I wasn't obsessed with checking the time every fifteen minutes (which, I've realized, I usually do on my cellphone - whatever happened to reading clocks?). I didn't update my facebook status (which, I'm sure, disappointed many people), and didn't care. For a night, I didn't hear about the myriad of tragedies occuring the world, and I didn't miss them (who misses tragedy?). It was peaceful. A refreshing fast. I even skipped my homework for a night. It wasn't much of a risk, though, because it was a Tuesday - anything that'd been assigned in class wasn't due until Thursday.
Too often, we forget that the important aspects of life are not the climax of Sookie and Bill's latest fight, or who has changed their relationship status back to "single". We forget that texting is a subpar substitute for conversation, and phone calls are only a little better. We forget that interpersonal connection doesn't really occur over instant messenger. So thank you, Daniel Pink (and Mr. Sloan), for challenging me to remind myself of it.