It’s a bittersweet symphony

I don’t mean to rip off The Verve here (or show my age in pop music terms), but that is the only phrase that came to mind when the phone lines went down today in the good ole Proctor Library.

With the beginning of the semester and all the panicked phone calls that go with it, I have begun to dread the sound of my phone ringing as of late. But today, when the system went down, I realized the feeling of freedom came paired with an unexpected feeling of isolation.

Sure I have E-mail, Internet and, if I so choose to waste my precious daytime minutes, my cell phone. But the point is I have picked up the receiver no less than three times since 11 a.m. and tried to dial, only to get the deafening sound of silence. Nothing. No dial tone, no crackle, not a sound. You’d think after the first time I would have figured out that it is fruitless to pick up a phone that is out of service. But me being the creature of habit I am, not to mention an unbelievable doofus, I keep picking it up.

But while the reason for my inability to retain the bit of data that would remind me the phone is out will, like so many of my goofball behaviors, always remain a mystery, it does raise the question — Why am I so dependent on communication technology?

I lived the better part of my life without E-mail and didn’t get a cell phone until I had graduated from college (gasp). I should be able to deal with the lack of a land line that, let’s face it, usually signals more work for me. But as I write this I am reminded why it would be nice to have a working phone. A salesperson just popped by claiming he had left me a message saying he was on campus and asking if he could stop by.

Now if the phones had been working I could have intercepted with a “No, I’m sorry. I’m just too busy,” or planned a strategic trip to the mailroom. But instead I smiled politely and listened to his spiel.

As he walked out and I was again free to return to regaling you with my telephone-less angst, I came to a reassuring conclusion — I’m just glad it’s not my E-mail. That might force me into convulsions.

It’s just one more piece of evidence that I’m hopelessly addicted to technology. Excuse me while I send a few E-mails so I can reconnect with the outside world.

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