The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,450 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,160 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Outpost/Disconnect to Reconnect Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I did a little kidnapping.
Oh, pshaw, Janey, my girl, I can hear you say. You would never!
Yes. Yes, I would.
Only my victims weren’t kiddos, they were fully grown adults.
Fully grown adults who you would think could go a full weekend without their phones, gadgets, Blackberries, laptops, iPods, and the like.
But no. Give me cranky toddlers, hyped up on sugar, with no naps, any day! They’d be a cinch compared to my irritable, technology-addicted girlfriends. Sigh. I did them a favor. Something I’m sure they’ll agree with and echo.
Once they come out of their cravings and withdrawal symptoms and start talking to me again, I mean.
So I suppose it was less like a kidnapping, and more like an intervention. Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t easy for me to give it all up for a few days either. I mean, I’m as connected and plugged in and cyber social as the next gal, so I felt the withdrawal symptoms, too.
The shaking. The reaching for your phantom phone that isn’t there. The constant imaginary beeping and pinging you hear, even when it’s all in your head. The need to be near an electric outlet at all times in case of a dreaded and hideous Low Battery warning. The sound of silence that makes you run screaming for the nearest television. I get you. I was trembling, too, girls.
Though part of it was because I was pretty sure my friends were going to make me sleep with da fishes if I didn’t produce the tote bag that I accidentally/on-purpose left behind in town. Sixty miles away.
I soothed the savage beasties with a home-cooked meal of flatbread pizzas in our rented cabin, and by bedtime, they were all talking to me again.
Sometimes it was threats on my welfare, but still. Progress.
We stayed up late reminiscing about the Good Ol’ Days (the ones before technology took over our lives), drinking hot cocoa, and telling scary stories (most started out with Once upon a time an evil queen took away her minion’s cell phones and they threw her off a cliff and lived happily ever after without her … yadda yadda yadda).
Falling asleep was way hard. There were no comforting devices to cuddle with. No soothing pings in the middle of the night to reassure us that someone in Facebook Land loved us. No midnight Twitter arguments to pop popcorn over and debate in 140 characters or less. No Instagram selfies to post. No Tumbler accounts to follow. No blog post stats to check. No Shutterfly photos to sort, no profiles to update, no online dating services to lie on.
It was scary. We huddled together for solidarity. We braided one another’s hair and ate more pizza. They made more threats on my life (blah, blah, blah).
By the next day, we were getting used to being without our devices. We could make lunch without taking pictures of it. We could use the bathroom mirror to check our reflections instead of taking selfies. We could have full, uninterrupted conversations.
By the third day, we were digging it. We had gotten know each other more in those three days then we had in the past decade, before our online identities had taken over our real identities.
I’m not saying they didn’t pounce on the tote bag like a starving cheetah on a pudgy zebra, but hey. It’s still progress.