On Africa and Technology

I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport, waiting to board my flight to Amsterdam, where I’ll catch a KLM flight to Tanzania. Am going to see my daughter, Jenny (see the picture of her here with her former Tanzanian landlady--she’s still Tanzania, but she’s not still her landlady). I’m reading Jenny’s blog (check it out at http://jennyedenton.tumblr.com/), and I’m anticipating the cessation of all digital connection.

This is fun like I rarely have. Worth reflecting on just a minute.

The first thing that’s fun is that I’m sitting here enjoying some leisurely time reading Jenny’s blog. There are sixteen pages (she has a lot of time in Africa), and I’ve maybe read six of them over the last four months since she left. I rarely make time for this kind of thing. Being connected is for me usually work, on a schedule, a game where the winner gets the most done in the least amount of time. I love to see that little icon go from “Unread” to “Read.” If it takes more than ten seconds to get to a link, I’ll often skip it. And when am I going to find an hour to read a blog, even if it is written by my daughter. I don’t say this proudly; rather, it’s with shame that I confess that I’m driven in this way. For some reason, I managed to turn most of the switches to “Off” or “Pause” today when I left school after the Open House, and here I am enjoying some unhurried reading.

The other fun is still to come. I can’t wait until the airline unplugs me. Puts the kibosh on my cell phone and my email and even my internet access. I hear that they are now offering such connections on flights, but I’m having nothing of it. It’s just me and a few books I brought. Deep reading is what I have planned. I want to finish Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows (which is all about deep reading and technoloy), start Rich Stearns’ The Hole in Our Gospel (apropos for a trip to Africa), and maybe snuggle in (best I can in coach) to a P.D. James Dagleish mystery I brought along.

So go on, unplug me!


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