I remember when I wasn’t addicted to technology

GUEST COLUMN: As a child I played with action figurines and used my imagination to create dramatic events for the characters

I was born before the revolution of personal computers and handheld electronic devices.

As a child I played with action figurines and used my imagination to create dramatic events for the characters.

I was educated with chalkboards and paperback books. If I needed to make a phone call for a person I didn’t know I had to find the number in a bible-sized book and then use a rotary dial and wait for each number to click back to zero.

When I entered my teenage years I began exploring my writing talents by penning poetry by hand. I read the books authored by most of the classic literary giants (Dostoyevsky, Camus, Kafka) which became my foundational understanding of language.

The times I wasn’t reading or writing I was outside playing or camping or participating in a sport. One summer I spent nearly every hour of every day shooting a rubber ball at a lacrosse net.

And then everything changed.

When the Internet arrived to the masses in 1995 and personal computers became available I got hooked on both.

I spent hours parked in front of a screen, consumed with video games and looking at poorly designed websites.

Although computers helped me continue the development of my writing, I found little time for anything other than sitting in front of a computer screen.

Nearly 20 years later little has changed for me, even though the expansion of technology has exploded.

It’s so difficult for me to disconnect from technology that I find my life moves from one screen to another.

I go from my personal computer at home, to my iPhone on the road, to another computer at work.

My eyes are nearly always staring into that soft white light.

It is the last thing I see before I close my eyes to sleep, and the first thing I see when it awakes me in the morning with its alarm.

During the rare times when the Internet is down or I’m out with the family doing something, I can sense an inner anxiety and discomfort.

I can feel the compulsion to get back to a screen where things are familiar.

In short, I don’t know how to properly disconnect from technology.

And when I do, I feel much like a junkie needing my fix. Being wired into the world wide web feels normal now.

That little boy who shot lacrosse balls into a net is long gone.

Not that I’m complaining.

Technology has given me many fun virtual adventures and allows me to support a family.

I am, however, glad to have memories before it took over our lives and became the new religion for the masses.


Adrian MacNair is a reporter with the South Delta Leader, a Black Press newspaper.