I was on the road for work today, which is to say that I went to Phoenix for a meeting. As usually happens on days like this, I spent the bulk of the day in airports, Lindbergh Field and Sky Harbor International, to be exact.
Today, I had to fly to Phoenix, got to the client's office, have a meeting and do a walkthrough of their new office to plan an installation. Along the way, we fleshed out the project requirements and roughed in the equipment list. My kit for this little adventure: a notepad, pen and pencil, digital camera, ipod and book for the plane. That's it. No laptop. No portable printers, projectors or any of the other crap I see people carrying around in the security line. What I like about traveling this way is that I can get through security without using the plastic bins, my briefcase is nice and light and, when I get to my gate, I get to be one of the few people who isn't buried in a screen.
I confess, I do carry a Blackberry, and it's a handy little fucker, but most days I'd just as soon hammer a ten penny spike right through its vampiric little silicon heart.
The fact is, as I watch people freaking out that they have to remove their bluetooth headsets to go through the metal detectors, or even better, spend an entire flight with the thing deactivated but still in place; as I watch them sitting in crappy airport gate chairs for hours at a time hammering away on emails and chatting into their little headsets, I wonder what's wrong with me.
I hate being connected. In fact, the harder I am to find, the happier I tend to be. I can go a whole day without my phone. I can go several without checking email. I've set things up at work so that they can run without me checking in constantly. When I do check in, it's usually because I'm bored, and not because they need me to do anything back at the ranch. It's this way because I made it this way. I am replaceable. We should all be replaceable. We should all be able to unplug, to be able to sit down and read a book without a bluetooth headset on, to look around a room or out a window and not at a computer screen.
I get productivity, I do. I get that we all have a thousand little things at one time that require our attention. What I don't get is why we think all of it is so urgent.
Maybe I spent too much time in the wilderness as a kid. Maybe I'm just a bad employee. Maybe I'm missing something and it really is cool to be that connected. I just don't get it. Text me a comment. If I turn my phone back on any time soon, I promise I'll read it.