How chucking the BlackBerry (just temporarily!) helped me feel alive again.
I’m back from two weeks away.
Thanks to those who realised, and dropped me emails asking where I was. No, the column was not discontinued by the good folk at LoyarBurok.
No, the Firm did not uncover my identity and ask me to stop writing.
And no, I certainly was not the woman in that sex video. Honestly, the theories you guys come up with!
Anyway, what did happen was that I decided to take a two week break, away from it all. One week out of the country, and one week at a local getaway courtesy of a very appreciative client who happens to run some hotels. And yes, I did leave my BlackBerry behind. This was the first time I’d ever done so. I’ll admit — it was daunting. I am, after all, a certified BlackBerry addict. Even putting it on silent mode doesn’t help — the blinking red light draws me in like a moth to a flame. And yes, even flipping it front-down doesn’t take away the constant urge to flip it over to check whether I’ve received any emails.
It’s not all work emails obviously — I receive lots of personal emails from friends and relatives. SMS has become a thing of the past. I receive around 150 emails a day, mostly work-related — corporate work generates lots and lots of emails (and no, I’m not subscribed to any mailing lists). But, anyway, yes the big unplug.
When the time came for us to head off, I took one last peek at the BlackBerry, removed the SIM card, and put it into my “dumb phone” (hey, I did still need a phone in case of emergencies). It was strange, slipping that small phone into the pocket in my handbag, instead of the BlackBerry’s heftier frame — even my bag seemed to miss it.
And for a few hours, I had imaginary “notifications” where I’d thought I felt the familiar vibrations of my BlackBerry — but no, nothing.
As the days went along, I experienced a — and I’m trying hard not to exaggerate this — I experienced a change in the way I interacted with the world around me. I began to notice every minor detail of my surroundings — from the thatched texture of the drinks coasters, to the colour of a waitress’ eyes… even the intricate details in summer dresses I’d worn for years seemed to pop into my consciousness for the first time.
Not just that, my mind seemed to find a long-hidden gear, buzzing with anticipation and creativity.
Now that I’m back at home, and at work, I’m trying to keep this buzz alive. I now try to keep my BlackBerry hidden away for at least two hours each night. No doubt the assistance of my nearest and dearest will soon be needed to keep this commitment going. Let’s see how it goes.
And, oh, just in case you think Alter Ego has gone all soft — next up, I write about office scandals, corporate fraud, and the lengths lawyers will go to steal deals from each other.
Alter Ego has been a corporate lawyer in Kuala Lumpur for many years. Livin’ La Vida Loyar is a weekly semi-fictional account of her experiences in the legal industry, explained here. Get in touch with comments, questions, or your own stories at [email protected]. Confidentiality is guaranteed. She’s not writing about you. And you don’t know her.