A dear friend of mine received a new Blackberry. Till then she had a simple flip phone to receive and make calls. When the phone rang, she’d flip it open and start talking. If she had to make a call all she had to do was punch the numbers on the oversized keypad, press the green button and talk.

Then she got this shiny new Blackberry as anniversary gift. She took it to office the same day along with the manual. Unfortunately she was very busy that day and no one called to give her an opportunity to test it. Promptly at five she left the office and boarded the bus home in Ajax. By the time the bus reached the highway she had gone through the first 10 pages. She looked around the silent bus. Being a short person she had to prop herself up and strain her neck to look around. The bus was almost full and most of them were either sleeping or reading. She sat down and fiddled with the phone and discovered the music icon. Her face lit up as she lightly rolled the crystal ball and clicked the music button. Loud music filled the bus. She looked around in panic for the volume button. The illustrated section of the volume controls were on the 12th page. She had not reached that part yet.

The music had, by now, woken up everyone. The driver watched her through the rear view mirror. She tried to choke the Blackberry with both her hands. Gasping for breath the Blackberry only sang louder. Then she held it between her legs to silence it. It just would not stop singing. The young man sitting next to her reached across, pulled the Blackberry from her hands, depressed the volume button and gave it back to her.

How many of you have come across a similar situation and felt technically challenged? Did she need the Blackberry? No. Her simple flip phone was more than adequate. Why do we buy gadget after gadget?

My wife thinks I am in love with the female voice on our GPS and is the only woman I listen to every time she speaks. She even tried to model her voice to match the sexy tone on the GPS. Do I really even need a GPS? No. A map would do just fine. Or the gas attendant can give me directions if I am lost. I had six computers in my house and only three people. I had seven remotes. Although I bought a master remote to manage all the other remotes, I still had to take each remote periodically and test it. Recently I bought a hands free device for my cell phone. The day I bought it I plugged it into my ear and drove to Brampton. No one called. Not even my wife. That set me thinking. I need to wean myself off all the things that are taking over my life.

I took down my earpiece. If someone called I decided that I will let the messaging system handle it. I told my wife to get rid of her cell phone. We decided to share one phone. Whoever drove the car would keep the phone. I gave away two computers and monitors to Value Village. I stopped checking my emails every hour. I hardly go into my Facebook or Twitter accounts. I reduced the time I sat in front of the TV or computer at home. Now I read more and write often. I enjoy writing in long hand. I find that I have a lot of time and that I am less anxious. My mind is calm and peaceful. Soon I hope to get rid of them (not the mind!) permanently.

Try it one of these days. Spend a day without your cell phone. After the initial craving of self-importance, you will begin to enjoy life even more.

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