Princess: Just say no to technology
The Aspen Princess
The other day, Ryan and I had an entire text conversation in emoticons.
It started out with some senseless chatter about how he ate too much and had a stomachache, followed by pizza, ambulance and doctor-bag emojis.
I responded with banana, apple, grapes, pineapple and orange: a clear message about healthy eating.
He sent back: beer, burger, cake, pizza and cookie.
I responded with tongue-out face.
He came back with a bunch of black squares and triangles, which made me laugh out loud. The meaning being that there is no meaning.
I’ve been feeling that way about a lot of technology lately, like my daily life is so consumed by “screen time” (as my friends with kids would put it) that it’s become a problem. It’s become a problem because 90 percent of what I’m doing with those screens is a colossal waste of time.
Like when Ryan tries to talk to me and I’m not listening because I’m on my phone, he’ll go, “What, are you Facef—ing your friends?”
Granted, sometimes it’s hard to live with someone who never, ever stops talking, but he’s usually right: I am on Facebook, even though, for the most part, it’s filled with random crap from people I either hardly know, don’t care about, can’t stand or happily would have left in my past where they belong.
Like, I have to sit on my hands every time I see a yoga chick doing a yoga pose in nature dressed in a skimpy outfit so I don’t post something like, “Maybe in your next life you’ll take photos of other people,” or “Mind, body, spirit and ego. Namaste.” Yes, I’m a little bitter because I can no longer strut around in hot shorts since I’ve gained the “Marriage Fifteen,” but still.
Then there’s the shameless gloating that goes on, like when everyone I know is at an event I don’t have passes to (I honestly thought the Food & Wine photos would never, ever stop) or that super-rich person who posts sunset photos of Hanalei Bay writing about how “blessed” they are, as if there is something spiritual about marrying up.
I seethe at the way people continue to misuse hashtags. It’s supposed to be used for trending topics or searches, not for cute little postscripts and certainly not for complete sentences. As a writer, it pains me to witness the desecration of the written word in my lifetime, but there is nothing worse than letters strung together in a jumble like that. It’s like eating glue or walking through mud in heels.
Let me also say that anyone cool I’ve ever known in my life, who is like, really, truly cool, does not use Facebook at all, or they pay someone else to do it for them.
But it’s not just that.
I also spend a lot of time on Instagram, posting photos on my pug’s account (@GertieGoogleEyes), and she has 1,270 followers from all over the world. This is where the hashtag is properly used: If I post a photo of my flat-faced little sausage and add: #pugs #puglove #flatfacedogsociety #tongueouttuesdays #pugsnotdrugs, you would not believe the response I get. I’d say on average, her photos get more than 100 likes.
You know what? I changed my mind. That’s actually one of the better things I’ve got going on.
The worst is TV. Because we live in the middle of nowhere, we can’t get cable and we have satellite Internet with limited data download, which means we can’t stream. No one who lives in civilization understands this.
“Yeah, but at least you can watch Netflix,” they say.
We try to explain how streaming on Netflix uses up all our data, like, after two movies, but they just don’t get it.
“You gotta see ‘House of Cards.’ I watched all three seasons in one day,” they’ll reply.
So we watch TV, like, with commercials and everything. We have HBO, but I don’t understand for the life of me how it can get away with showing the same five old movies over and over again. How many times can a girl watch “The Devil Wears Prada” before she goes insane? When we’re not watching movies we’ve seen 1,000 times, we’re watching two shows at once with a “flip channel” to avoid watching commercials. This means going back and forth between, say, “Million Dollar Listing” on Bravo and “Shark Tank” on CNBC, which are actually two of our favorite shows. The problem is they have one new episode a week that’s played over and over. So now, not only are we watching movies we’ve seen, but we’re watching crap television shows we’ve seen, also.
I have this fantasy that we’ll get rid of our TV altogether and I’ll learn to play backgammon or buy a bunch of vintage board games that will look cool on the shelf or just watch movies we can get from the library for free on DVD. But then I remember the Caitlyn Jenner series is about to premiere on E! next week, and I can’t miss that! It’s like history, for God’s sake.
But I do want to make some changes. I know July is a weird time to make resolutions, but a new month is always a good time to set some goals, and here are mine:
1) I am quitting Facebook for the next 30 days, so you’ll no longer have to tolerate my snarky comments.
2) I am going to read four novels this month. I can’t wait to buy some of the authors I got to see speak at Summer Words, especially Ann Hood.
3) We are going to eat dinner at the dinner table or, better yet, outside on the patio.
Just don’t expect me to quit Instagram. My pug is, like, practically famous. So there’s some value in that.
The Princess will maintain her page on Facebook for the three people who like her column each week. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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