At around five in the afternoon the CBD starts to fill up with tired, empty faces. Edging forward in a weary shuffle; their last dregs of focus relinquished to small, silver screens. From a distance it’s slightly strange and even sort-of sad. Not the emptiness mind you. Apathy is an extremely understandable reaction to finding yourself in the predicament of being alive. Ahhh, life. Bestowed upon you like the used teapot Aunty Margaret re-gifted you at your 21st and although, deep down, you want nothing to do with the thing, custom dictates that it’s something you have to begrudgingly accept, take home, and pretend to be grateful for at every family reunion for the foreseeable future.
In response to a phenomena such as this, ennui is expected. What’s strange and kind-of-sad is how quick we were to embrace a means of constant distraction. The smartphone. So with Nick-Z (the 14-year-old version of myself who was so goddamn fly he replaced his last name with a z) urging me to stick it to the man and rebel against this toxic societal undercurrent, I decided to go tech-free and threw my phone in the sink. It was the best decision I have ever made.
At first, the act of self-imposed technological deprivation almost drove me further insane (on top of the madness that’s naturally there, of course). The sheer tedium of 21st Century reality even forced me, at one point, to try to continue the plot of Riverwood myself. Afternoons spent acting out imagined scenes with Play-Doh characters that looked like their Mother thought a holiday to the outskirts of Chernobyl while they were still in the womb circa; 1986 was a fantastic idea. It was shameful. Apart from having no plot direction, awful voiceover work and a $4 production value, it did nothing to stave my technological cravings at all.
But after a few weeks of this hellish depravity, I woke up to find that the metaphorical shackles of tinder, snapchat, and candy crush had fallen from my wrists. I was free, and brutally aware of how much life technological entertainment can cause us to miss. Australian’s spend eight times longer on screens than with their loved ones. I mean, I don’t really blame them. Until your SO, friends and family can recount their day with the same finesse and pacing as an episode of Breaking Bad they’re just sadly not going to stack up.
So why mention it? Because it’s a ton of fucking time. Each of us have roughly 700,000 hours on this earth, and we should be cognisant that time (for us) is a finite resource. That’s what tech-free life is all about. Each week, I’ll perform and then review a technology-free life experience from stealing someone’s identity to the consequences of practicing Machieavillinism in a modern context. With genuine euphoria, possible legal trouble, and the benefits of selfishness and evil, this is, Tech-free Life.