I once heard a colleague refer to her Blackberry as her 'Crackberry' and discovered the accuracy of that statement this week while on a business trip.
I left my Blackberry at home so could not communicate or be communicated to in any other way than the making of a noise.
I was stressed immediately - not able to the respond to the various emails received overnight regarding the job I am recruiting for which I opened irrationally at 11.30pm before going to bed the previous night. Or catch up on updates about changes to the company's south western region which are neither of interest or relevance to me.
The fact is: no-one will die as a result of me not responding to their communications for 24 hours as beginning a communication with the phrase "Please response to this within the next two hours or I will throw myself from my office window" is thankfully in the minority. And I work in shifting paper, rather than human organs meaning, that the likelihood of the hands-free call beginning "Doctor, I have removed Mrs Williams' liver but cannot remember who is to receive it" is not existent.
I was stressed though. I had nothing to hide behind when in taxi queues or waiting for lifts to enable me to avoid talking to my fellow man. I had not apps, no Angry Birds to placate, nothing that would alert me when I was 500 metres from a supplier of surgical appliances. Instead, I would have to ask a policeman "Excuse me, Officer - could you please direct me towards the nearest supplier of surgical appliances" followed by some friendly banter with him about the fact that the market is now flooded with surgical trusses from the Far East which are less effective in containing the gut than the traditional makes, he would show me his scar which led to him sporting the truss, after which we would exchange Christmas cards and I would commence an affair with his wife.
Instead, I had to resort to more traditional ways of hiding through careful manipulation of the face muscles affecting the likelihood of social interaction (viz. happy face, angry face, "don't mess with me" face) and the use of props (e.g. newspapers).
I was stressed though. I would not be able to respond with my food order for the office Christmas lunch within 24 hours.
Whilst I have a level of importance at my employer, there is feast and famine in communication for me. There are times I long for an email from a person rather than an activity-based email address with the header "Do not respond to this email address". But there are others where I start to run out of words having received too many phone calls. And commencing responses with the phrase "My understanding is that..." begins to wear thin when the true answer is "I don't know" but cannot say that as it would mean losing face.
I was stressed though. Nothing to check or frantically tap towards the end of interminable meetings where the subject is so boring that it could be used as a form of psychological torture by the CIA in future conflicts with unfortunate countries with bloated dictators sitting on oceans of oil.
So, I had to focus on talking to people. To focus on one thing at a time, like I used to. And to refrain from one handed, one finger typing of short messages on a small keyboard not designed for my fat fingers.
Any longer than 24 hours, and I would have gone into full cold turkey without my Blackberry. This though enabled me to choose my food order for the office Christmas lunch when I responded to the email the following day. At least that was one decision made.
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