Off the Grid
On the Eve of our wedding my wife to be gave me a Swiss watch (This is nothing like the watch story from Pulp Fiction). This watch was a wedding present and because it is a Rotary it has two faces each with an independent battery. I have had that watch for seven years but recently sent it for repair. Not long after it was returned one of the batteries ran out. I wasn’t bothered. I simply flipped the face over and used the other watch. Two weeks ago following my sisters wedding the second watch stopped just as we had begun our time at ‘Deco Cottage’ – a little 1940’s bach on Waiheke Island. At first I was shocked. My prime piece of Swiss engineering had let me down. However minutes later (I think it was ‘minutes later’ but I had no working watch to tell time) I realised the predicament suited our situation. I was now totally off the grid.
My phone was rarely charged and all the data roaming turned off. The wifi access only worked when we walked past a particular cafe which was rare. It was like the late 90’s all over again as I communicated only with text messages and paid no heed to a full and inaccessible inbox. I must say this break from technology was desperately needed and good for us. Occasionally I would get a sports update on one of the four channels on our small tube television but otherwise our use of media much less too. Without sounding like a fuddy-duddy, when I look at young adults now they are fixated with their smartphones. They may look up to say ‘hi’ but soon some intrusive chime will avert their gaze back to the phone and an incoming message. I can understand how people are drawn into their devices whereby they feel they cannot live without them. I imagine if I owned a Macbook Air, I would never remove my fingers from the keys however this break was quite heavenly.
For the past two weeks we have had a dozen picnics and as many barbecues. We have had 25 degree cloudless days which aint bad for autumn. Time and again we have visited the islands best beaches and occasionally sampled its wines. My kids have not missed Disney Junior or Nick Junior or any other junior. But best of all none of us know what time it is. Its just time to eat or time to swim or time to play or time for bed, its that simple.