This weekend, I participated in National Day of Unplugging created by the Sabbath Manifesto last year. This “unplugging” took place sundown on March 4th and ended sundown on March 5th; essentially, it was for non-Jews to practice Sabbath in their own way.
Because I read an article about the unplugging at 1 am on March 5th, I vowed to plug back in 1 am on March 6th. As soon as I read the article, I shared the link on Facebook, tweeted it then I turned off my computer.
The next day, I woke up with a list of activities not involving media or electronic devices in mind.
I exercised, read magazines, and took a lovely walk in my neighborhood.
On my walk, I found the funniest post on a pole. A woman’s attempt to finding a date was pretty clever. This posting was also complete with the tear away pieces with her name and number. I wonder if this has actually worked for her and how many dates she’s went on after putting this up.
Living in Williamsburg, I always made an effort to walk around, to familiarize myself with the new shops, cafes, and restaurants that have opened to explore. Being the chocoholic that I am, I Googled chocolate in Williamsburg (prior to unplugging, of course) and discovered a chocolate shop, Mast Brothers Chocolate , had opened two years ago. When I arrived at the location, I was overwhelmed with chocolate aroma; yes, I loved it but I was unable to fully sample their chocolate bars with the patience and attention I would have liked to provide for the pieces. The space was way too tiny and the bars really pricey. I had a few samples and walked out. Across the street, I discovered a book store! Bookthugnation has only been open for about a year or so now (or so I heard the owner or employee telling a patron inside the store) and I had never heard of it! Before I walked inside, I was enticed by the book cars outside the store, similar to The Strand ($1 books!). After a long time spent on those outside books, my interest was piqued. I walked inside and immediately scanned the shelves that had a fine fiction selection and decent science fiction/fantasy selection. I settled on the purchase of Slaughterhouse Five and War of the Worlds and all ten bucks! I was satisfied. On my way walk home, I stopped by The Salvation Army (on North 7th and Bedford Avenue) and scanned their bookshelves. I bought myself Devil in the City for $1.99! That’s three books for under $13.
When I arrived at my humble apartment, I realized I had left both my wristwatch and cell phone at home (unplugged indeed!) so I didn’t have any idea how long I had been out. If I had to guess, I’d say I was out for ninety minutes (especially on the gorgeous day that Saturday was) and walked around for most of the day prior to my purchases.
I cooked for myself, read more magazines, took a nap, chatted with a friend who lives in another state, organized my office, read a book, and crawled into bed.
For someone like me that listens to music while doing an activity (listening to Bishop Allen as I write this entry), surprisingly, the silence wasn’t deafening for me. Instead the silence provided me with a focus for completion on all my projects, less distraction, and buzzing with inspiration. When I went to bed, it was hard to fall asleep because my head was a flutter with projects to complete or start, things to do during the week, people to call, and everything in between. I felt alive.
I know that Sabbath is practiced in the Jewish faith every week and I only did it once because I thought it would be an interesting experiment for someone who is plugged in all the time. Would I do this again next year? Definitely yes. Would I try to do this every week? No. It was so hard to be pulled away from the TV on DVD I own, the programs filling up my DVR, the movies I rented sitting on my table collecting dust, and the many unwritten and started blog entries chilling on my laptop. I was able to do this with much effort (or not depending on how you see it) but because I knew it was a day, I was able to let go. I blog about media so my weekends are the days I watch a flick or two and write about whatever I consumed.
Overall, I’d say it was a great Unplugged day. Looking forward to next year!