Saturday, July 9, 2011

Turn it Off

Turn off everything. All your lights, your iPod or radio, silence your cell phone, shut off the TV and turn off the air conditioning. All of it, just turn off (except for the device on which you're reading this, silly).

Do you hear that...?

If not, the answer should be just this: Silence.

Absolute, complete, undisturbed silence.

Rarely in today's world do we ever hear this lack of sound. Everywhere we go, everything we do, is dedicated to technology and all the sights and sounds that go along with it.

You can be texting on your iPhone, updating your facebook status, listening to your music, watching a video on Youtube, going grocery shopping and watching the televisions at the registers all at the same time. Millions of things to see, and even more to hear.

Sensory overload.

It's just too much.

Don't get me wrong, I love technology. Hell, I'm listening to some pretty awesome tunes right now as I'm typing this out to you on my phone.

But somehow, despite all of this advanced technology, I can't help but feeling like sometimes our society takes it just a step too far.

What gets me thinking about this?

Well sometime last week, there was a fire at the electrical plant near my house. My entire city, and those surrounding, are all entirely powered by this plant. The fire made it all stop.

Houses went dark.

Televisions turned off.

Radios were silenced.

The internet went down.

I was at work, in one of the biggest sensory overloaded places in the world. It was like a big shudder as the lights flickered and shut off (imagine the final moments on the Titanic (you can click on that FYI)). The televisions near my register completely turned off. The air conditioner shuddered to a halt.

I had no idea things could get that silent.

We closed the store to customers and did other things inside to clean up and organize...and as we sat folding clothes, we could hear each of the generators turning off one by one. And with every one, I felt that much smaller. The world was becoming vast as it slowly shuddered to a halt.

It was a curious sensation.

I can't entirely say I enjoyed being without the air conditioner or the lights...but it was almost like being able to step back from the hustle and bustle of life for the briefest of moments and realize that technology is not the entirety of life.

Despite ourselves, we CAN go on without it. We can survive.

Eventually, the lights turned back on, as well as the cash registers, the refridgerators, the air conditioning, the televisions, the bathrooms, the fire alarms, and palm pilots. Life restarted.

But for those few short hours, I felt closer to finding my true self than I have my entire life combined.


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