Today was as ordinary as any other December day I suppose. I went to work, went through the routines of the day and packed up at 4:30. As I strolled to my car I began to drift out, leaving work at work. It has always been easy for me to check out mentally from the daily grind. Often music triggers this, and it has the ability to carry me to places I wish I could go: distant shores, serene forests, lush mountains and places I’ve often read about in fiction or movies I’ve seen.
I long to be free from the mundane struggles that consume so many hours of our lives. The older I get it seems that technology itself is a struggle, in that it seems to take up a bigger and bigger role in my life. It is as if technology has become a pervasive necessity to everyone, with its hooks cutting deep. Technology is inescapable really, and practically everywhere we go throughout our day, it’s there. It is ironic in a sense, my view of technology now as opposed to say even two to three years ago. I’ve become a technology whore, and it feels like I’m drowning in it. Eight hours a day my job submerges me in it. On top of the job, add to every waking hour: on the fly emails, text messaging, alerts, streaming music, social networking, twitter, smart phones, online gaming, cable, satellite, DSL, Ethernet, PC’s, printers, laptops, ipods, ipads, and you have more or less defined ½ the civilized world by the objects they use. You see as much as I’d really like to check out, I can’t.
Even as I type this, in the coffee shop downstairs from my art studio, more people are sitting with laptops (myself included) than not. What are they all doing? Blogging like me? Facebooking, surfing? What they are not doing is talking, rather they are texting because they are plugged in. “The Matrix has you…” really makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? Perhaps I’m being negative and judgmental, but for me I think I would be far more productive as an artist with most of these technology trappings gone. I could live without cable TV, a smart phone, my laptop, and hell even the internet. Yes it would be hard, but I bet would have met my 2010 New Years resolution to paint twelve new paintings and read twelve books. I managed to finish four new paintings and I am on my third book, so I’m achieving 25% of my goals, which if we were in school would be an F.
I don’t even remember what it was like to not be reachable 24/7. How the hell did we survive the past 2000 years without instant communication anywhere we happen to be at? When is the last time you had a moment of solitude, without your phone handy, the TV on or anything? Can you think of a time in the last month that you went anywhere in public and didn’t see someone texting or talking on their phone? When is the last time your wrote a letter, yes actually wrote a letter and mailed it with a stamp?
What is my point? I guess it would be to try unpluging for a day, which may be harder than fasting for a day. Well as hard as that seems, not painting for even a few days makes me feel as if I’m wasting away, procrastinating. I guess that makes art as integral to my being as technology is to society today. All I need is some good old fashion pigment, paper, water and some brushes and yes some good Vangelis music. Before long I’ll find myself in the deep pensive, painting and ‘checked out’ from everything and everyone.