My seamless experience

Two weeks ago I was driving a rented car from the Louisville airport to Cincinnati. Thanks to an accumulation of electronic equipment, I was also on a very clear Skype call to Italy—much clearer than the average cellphone call I can experience on either continent. I was so immersed in the conversation that I missed the right junction to the airport—twice, one time leading me into downtown Cincinnati, the other to cross the Ohio river into Indiana.

Later the same day, as I was on a plane to San Francisco, and Italy had officially entered the new day, I was able to receive the first birthday wishes via e-mail, Skype chat and Facebook. All thanks to the wi-fi-equipped plane I was sitting in.

I’m never shy when it comes to embracing new technology—it’s a known fact. Normally, though, this insistence on keeping an almost permanent connection with the world would have made me doubt the validity of the choice. What is traveling, after all, if not a commitment to disconnecting from your regular life?

Fifteen years ago, when my family got its first cellphone, I swore I’d never use it. But it was not Luddism—rather, an opposition to the increasing trend of bringing your own private business into the public world. I still largely feel that way about public telephony. 

I’ve decided that I’m past feeling weird about technology. Maybe I’ve never really felt weird, but it’s the socially acceptable thing to do, right?—excusing oneself for the excess of technology present in one’s life. Sure, it’s easier to carry around a notebook and a pen—easier and less expensive, not to mention less worrisome—than a bunch of electronics, but it’s all worth the effort. Ultimately, reading is still reading if you do it on a screen, writing is still writing. 

Will I know how to unplug and disconnect, how to write a book all on paper if need be? Probably, maybe, who knows. And does it really matter?