- Pages: 9
- Word count: 2018
- Category: Media
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In today’s society almost everyone is connected to some type of media whether they realize it or not. Media goes far beyond the typical computers, television, radio, or newspapers. In fact, media spans from photography and video gaming to cars, planes, busses and washing machines and vacuums. When challenged to deprive myself from media for 8 straight hours, my first thought was that it was going to be impossible. Although it was hard at first to completely cut myself off of what was so predominant in my life, it was in fact possible.
My first hour of the deprivation started around one o’clock in the afternoon. To start things off my boyfriend, Chris, and I made ourselves a delicious lunch. We made ham and turkey sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on a toasted whole wheat bread with honey mustard to add a little bit of a tang to it all. Chris also made me caramel dark hot chocolate in his fancy Keurig coffee maker. After we had sat down and finished our lunch we walked to a nearby park, or at least I thought it was nearby when I was able to drive my car. It turns out that what usually takes only about ten minutes driving ends up being about a half an hour walking.
During our walk to Perinton Park, we played a game called yellow car. The objective if this game is to call out “yellow car” whenever you see one passing in the street, parked in a driveway or parking lot or wherever one may be. The rules to this game are that you cannot call the car if it is a company car, if the car is a yellow punch buggy then it counts as two cars, and if you call a car that is not yellow, is a company car, or the car has been called by someone else, you lose a point. At the end of the day whoever has the most points wins! Although it is rather hard to learn all the rules and to pick up all the yellow cars, it is a fun way to entertain yourself and to pass the time while walking.
Within my first hour of the media deprivation my emotions were not any different than they were before I stared. Although my phone had been turned off for nearly an hour, I really had no feeling to check it or to turn it on to see what was happening with my friends or family. I had no feelings of anxiety or boredom like I predicted that I would. I as actually feeling pretty good and was having a fun time.
When we finally got to the park we sat down on one of my favorite yellow swinging benches and Chris drew a really amazing design. For about forty-five minutes I sat in awe and watched him make swirling, elegant lines. He made nearly perfect circles in orange and green that were transformed into multiple peace signs. Zig-zags of blues and purples, random shapes that poured onto the paper from his mind had me mesmerized. We talked of course while he was drawing, but mostly of little things like what my work schedule was or what days he had to work. We talked about school and our parents, about the crap that people deal with when they are friends with certain people. I would look up from his paper filled with color and inspiration and see an old married couple walking down the canal path holding hands and walking their little old dog.
I would see a little boy of maybe 8 or 9 riding his bike with confidence, right behind him was his father on his own bicycle. What i saw reminded me of those old commercials for Kodak where it the announcer said it was a “Kodak moment.” To me, the scene that was playing out in the park was my very own Kodak moment with all types of people brought together though one common interest, this park.
For those forty-five minutes I was still not feeling deprived from the media that always surrounds me. I did not care that my phone was off and in my pocket instead of being in my hand with Facebook constantly up. I did not feel like I was missing out on what was going on in the world around me. When I was sitting on that swinging bench observing the people around me and watching Chris draw, I can honestly say that I was completely at peace. I came to the realization that you do not have to be connected to everyone all the time through every outlet of media during the day. I realized that it is ok to “escape” for a while and just relax.
The next significant amount of time was spent playing basketball in the courts that were already art the park. We waited for about fifteen minutes for the group of guys to finish their game and then Chris and I had a one on one game. Actually, we played many games. Since it was getting a little chilly just sitting on the bench we needed to warm up. We figured that if we played basketball we would warm up faster than if we went on a walk to another park down the road. For about 2 hours I got completely demolished in basketball. Being relatively tall for a girl one would think that I would be pretty decent at the game. This was not the case. Yes, I am tall, but I am also extremely clumsy and possess no hand eye coordination whatsoever. Chris stopped keeping score after he was winning by thirteen.
Seeing as how we did not continuously play for the two hours I started to feel a little bit antsy when we would take a few minutes to catch our breath and get water and whatnot. After almost 4 hours of being media deprived I began to feel the need to check my phone. I had an itch to check the time, play a quick game of andy birds, or just see who had texted me. I was starting to cave into the social norms of always having your phone on and readily accessible. I wanted to get a quick fix of some sort of media.
Once we finished our games of basketball around four forty-five, Chris had a craving for some coffee and I really wanted some hot chocolate. There was a small coffee shop down the canal that was within walking distance that we decided to go to. We got to Towpath and ordered what we wanted we had to head right back out. They had a television with the news on and music playing over the speakers throughout the cafe.
Realizing that there was music playing throughout Towpath and that they also had the television on simultaneously made me think about other stores or restaurants. I found that when I thought about it, almost every single public building or restaurant or cafe or store had some sort of media. I think that this is strange and actually a little sad. If we have to have media provided to us every place that we are, what does that say about us as a whole? What does that say about our society? Is it just there for entertainment for the employees or is there some sort of scientific study showing it is productive or helpful? I was unable to come to a concrete conclusion but I was surprised when I found myself getting a little frustrated and maybe even agitated that media is everywhere. I also found that through this I did not want to check my phone. I did not want to see what was happening on Facebook. I did not want to be like everyone who is so attached to their media outlets.
We stared our walk back to Chris’s house at about five-thirty. Warmed by our beverages, I noticed that we were walking at a more leisurely pace. Again, we talked about little things like what we were going to make for dinner and how much fun we had had throughout the day even though we were to be without media for 8 straight hours.
We finally got back home and decided that we would have lemon crusted chicken with parmesan angel hair pasta. Not being able to use the internet or cooking books to look up any recipes, we had to improvise. Our lemon crusted chicken was really just chicken with bread crumbs and lemon squeezed onto of it and our parmesan angel hair pasta was from a box so it was easy to boil water with some milk and then add the pasta and seasoning. Needless to say the chicken was not as appetizing as we had hoped but the pasta was rather delicious.
By the time we were done eating and cleaned up the kitchen and did the dishes it was quarter to 8. We had a little more than an hour to kill and I was feeling pretty good about going all this time without media. Despite getting frustrated when Chris reminded me that we weren’t allowed to use the computer to look up dinner recipes, I was pleased and proud of myself for going almost 7 hours with no media of any kind. I was not very worried about what my friends might be thinking since I hadn’t answered any messages that I might have received, but I was a little worried about what my mom was thinking, that was if she had even called or texted me.
To pass the final stretch of this project Chris and I played Clue and Monopoly. I not only redeemed myself from the embarrassing performance during basketball but I dominated in both Clue and Monopoly. I deciphered the clues that resulted in Professor Plum being the murderer in the kitchen with the lead bar. Even though we were not able to finish our game of monopoly, we counted our monitory value in property and the amount of money we had left from the beginning and I also beat Chris in that game as well.
As soon as nine o’clock struck I let out a sigh of relief and said “I did it!” and stopped playing Monopoly. I was so happy that I was able to say that I had gone 8 hours with no media. The first thing I did was turn on my phone and wait for all the messages to come in. To my disappointment, the only message I had was from my mother. Not only was it just form my mom, but it was only a one sentence message asking when I was going to be home.
I realized that I was not that attached to media as I originally thought. I also came to the conclusion that the only real reason I am on my phone so much is only because I am bored and feel like I need to appear busy. This feeling of having to look busy or occupied comes from the ever moving ever changing world that technology and media has created. Even in the younger generations it is socially engraved in us that we have to have some sort of media with us at all times. If you do not have a cell phone you aren’t “cool” if you don’t have the newest version of the iPod you’re labeled as outdated. Everyone needs to have the biggest and the best. We need fifty televisions when we go to a bar so we can shove food in our mouths like a robot while we get more entertainment consuming the media we are exposed to than the food that we are paying for. In all, media is always around us and the only true way for us to get away from it is to become aware of it all and to then remove yourself from it.