Fighting a modern-day dragon

Every day, I partake of a practice which I thought - until recently - was perfectly normal, but have come to realise through conversations with friends and those members of the wider world, that it very much isn't.

First aside of this blog - and so rapidly! - I can sense you're starting to worry what I'm going to say here, and indeed whether it's safe to carry on... Fear not, it's nothing offensive.  Just, apparently, unusual.

I might as well get on with it, so here's the confesssion which it seems puts me out of step with much of modern society.  Deep breath, prepare myself, right, here we go, it's this...

...I am able to turn off my mobile phone and email!

Yep, that was it, but as bland as that may seem, it strikes me I'm unusual in doing so. 

The thought first came upon me in August, when I was teaching at the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School.  A discussion was going on about how to keep writing when emails were a constant distraction, and I suggested the simple remedy of turning off your email.

To be given a reception roughly akin to the devil himself strolling in to join the congregation at a Christening!

Since which, I've carried out a little research, on the subject of mobile phones, and found that many people seem genetically unable to turn the things off.  Take the gym class I plan to toddle along to in a couple of hours.  It's a circuits thing, and some of the younger folk there take their mobiles in and check them every few minutes, between exercises.

What are they worried they'll miss?! Ok, if you're a heart surgeon, or firefighter, maybe you need to keep the phone on ready for an emergency, but is it such a great risk for most of us to turn the thing off occasionally?

Oh dear, this is turning into a rant, but as I'm enjoying it, I'll carry on anyway.

One of the great things about writing, is being able to have a dig about something that annoys you in print.  In the tvdetective books, Adam is continually irked by mobiles, particularly people who insist on shouting into them in pubs and restaurants.  There is a great invention known as the door, and a place called the outside, where you can carry on your conversation without annoying your fellows, my fine detective friend often comments...

Anyhow, back to the point, before I spiralled into that little tirade, and what prompted me to this blog.  It's been a beautiful few days of late, and as regular sufferers of my musings will know I like to have a stroll around the river, enjoy the air, take in the scenery and do some thinking. 

How many people do I pass with mobile clamped to ear, bawling away, and duly missing the wonderful spectacle all around them?

I'm not against all this modern technology, I'm doing my best to embrace it (120 followers on Twitter, 176 Facebook friends now, even had my first poke this week (as it were), very proud of all that!)

I just think technology can sometimes distract from what life is really about.. which for me is time to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful planet, the delights of your friends, and ok, yes, in my case get lost in the occasional thought-mire.

So, whether it be for thinking, writing, or just simple engagement with life, I can offer a helpful hint - it's not fatal to turn off your mobile or email for a while...