I’m on a Tech Detox (but Promise This Isn’t Click Bait)


Here is list of things I did on Saturday:

+Got out of bed

+Almost meditated, instead ate toast with Abie (my husband), reflected on grand plans I had for myself (both personal and not) a year ago and told him I feel like a loser because they haven’t been met. (Like a truly self-indulgent narcissist, I subsequently talked myself into believing they just weren’t the right goals — but we can talk about this another time.)

+Went to Whole Foods for avocado, eggs, salmon, basil and ezekiel bread

+Came home, made scrambled eggs (with basil and truffle oil, I highly recommend it) and giuagiamoli! (that “!” is part of the name), which is what I call the Italian equivalent of guacamole a.k.a mashed avocado with lemon juice, basil and salt.

+Drank coffee, ate aforementioned eggs with my friend Roxana, talked about self-awareness

+Went for a 30-block walk in shearling, open-toe clogs and then turned around to Soho to meet two friends in town from Paris

+Met them. Spent hours together

+Came home

+Left home

+Got a pedicure

+And a back rub

+Came home

+Ordered sushi

+Checked my phone and then…

And then

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. The Mets were on. Snapchat was on, Instagram looked shiny and new. I texted — but can’t remember with who, I tried to write this story — but ultimately found that the creative vision I hoped would drive it was still lingering at the ophthalmologist’s office. That was terrible, I’m sorry, but here’s the point: I didn’t have my phone on me from the time the sun set on Friday until it went down on Saturday. An attentive Jew might refer to this as “observance,” but I’m better suited calling it a weekly tech-fast.

In September, to combat post-summer anxiety, I implemented three new practices: Wednesday mornings as “me” mornings (as in, take your favorite magazine or the newspaper to your favorite coffee shop and sit there, in silence, for an hour before work), one night a week as a “me” night (in this scenario, I drink a glass of wine at a quiet restaurant with a book), and Saturdays as a day away from my cellphone. No text messages, no e-mails, no Instagram, nothing. Except me! And my head! And the great outdoors. We talk about how tired we are, how badly we have to do something about it, but we never actually do anything. So I decided to do something.

I can’t know if you’re experiencing similar feelings of fatigue spurred by hyper-connectivity but I know that feeling as though you’re losing yourself is an experience we can all relate with.

See, the thing about the list of events I participated in on Saturday is this: I remember them all. My husband and I had a great conversation that morning. I can still kind of taste the cinnamon I peppered into my coffee. The lovely check-out clerk at Whole Foods had the coolest gold stars pasted onto her face. That walk I took was freeing. I was held accountable to show up at a lunch that had been arranged the previous week with zero check-in and I succeeded! I was aware, and fully invested, and not trying to chalk myself up to a genius multi-tasker because multitasking is not a real thing.

But at that lunch, I wish I’d had my phone. I realized half way through a sparkling conversation on the state of fashion that I wanted to tape record our conversation to turn it into a story but then I realized that if I did have my phone, I’m not sure we’d have had that conversation. Because even if I were not to check it while we were eating, I’d know it was there — like an infant in a carriage who may be sleeping but is still very much alive, so I wouldn’t be free. And that’s what this comes down to, right? The complicated pursuit of freedom in a world that looks and feels and acts like it’s free but traps us in the footnotes.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis


Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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