When I turned on my laptop last week for a routine internet dick-around session, the first thing I was greeted with was not the blue login screen I was accustomed to, but rather a perverted resemblance of that comforting glow which instead had thousands of red flashing pixels smeared across the screen. My reaction was not unlike that of Jeffrey Dahmer’s girlfriend opening his fridge to see dozens of severed heads.
Let me back up for a second. In the summer before my freshman year here at New Paltz, I spent exactly $1,765 purchasing my ASUS G73S from Amazon.com (not including shipping and handling). Now before you chastise me for being so irresponsible with money on what most college students use as a glorified word processor and Facebook machine, let me say computers have been my entire livelihood for entertainment and work related needs, as well as socialization in a time where high school meant anxiety attacks and disgust for others’ lack of moral conscience. But I digress.
My laptop for the past three years has provided for me anything and everything I needed from the digital landscape as quickly as the school’s bandwidth would allow: movies, music, games, cat pictures. It would not be inaccurate to say that I love it more than some blood relatives (not you Mom and Dad, you’re OK in my book). So, to find out my beloved laptop had been inflicted with some condition of unknown origin was much like receiving news that a family member had come down with a mysterious illness.
Shock and denial came on immediately. Confusion, fear, anger. The works. How could something like this happen? It had been so healthy not a day before. Why is this happening? It is some sick punishment brought on by the tech gods? Why me?
After a few hours of panicked attempts at rationalizing the problem and trying to fix it with different combinations of hard drive sweeps and restarting the system to no avail, I decided to take a walk to collect my thoughts. In the cool night air I solemnly trekked to my favorite thinking spot besides Esopus lake.
There I sat, thinking. Thinking about how unfair it was that despite my years of care for that absurdly heavy chunk of plastic and metal it would all end like this. I sat, thinking some more. Time passed and my mood had yet to improve. Then I thought about how absurdly emotionally attached I was to that absurdly heavy chunk of plastic and metal. How could my heartstrings be plucked so severely by sparking machinery made in Korea? I’d like to think that I’m a pretty level-headed fellow, but seeing me in such a state over an inanimate object would beg the contrary.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized there were likely many more like me with a zealous attachment to a piece of technology. How many people can’t go to the bathroom without pocketing their phone, iPod, etc.? How many people do you see immediately texting if they’re not being addressed by someone else? Hell, how many people do you see texting while talking to someone else? How often do you hear someone answer another’s question with “I don’t know, Google it.”
Now imagine all those fancy tech luxuries suddenly went away or stopped working indefinitely. Code black. What would you do? Can you say with an honest degree of certainty that you wouldn’t experience a jarring feeling of loss? It really is no enlightening revelation, most of us realize how dependent we are on technology to satisfy our everyday needs.
However, just like any dependent need, once severed, withdrawal symptoms set in. Fear, anxiety, anger, panic, inability to function properly, and desperation can result from the loss of a dependent source.
The age of the smart phone has essentially made all of us drug addicts, and that drug is information and instant gratification. This is obviously problematic, especially for future generations who are being taught to rely on technology even more so than we do. What might the repercussions be? I can’t say I have a clear solution to this issue, but I feel it’s something all of should be aware of as we supplement more technology for uses in our everyday life.
After a few more breaths of fresh air, I returned to my room to face the dread sitting atop my desk. Having no other options, I slapped the matte black chasis with the swiftest wrist flick my emotionally drained body could manage. Poof. The dots were gone.
While I eventually got my “fix,” the event had me see a dark side of myself that seriously worried me. To think that anything, living or not, could hold so much control over me emotionally and mentally was something I never thought I was vunerable to. So, let me be the first to say it: Hi, I’m Anthony and I’m a tech-oholic.