Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth

Since the invention of free Verizon-to-Verizon minutes, I rarely drive in my car without talking on the phone. I remember that driving time used to be time for me to think or to listen to music or to pray, but now I just fill it with words. I hardly ever take time for solitude. Even when I consciously think, “I’m just going to be quiet on the drive home,” I find myself picking up the phone to call . . . someone. Anyone.

To me, that’s what technology has meant: loss of solitude. I love my cell phone as much as the next person, but always being available can be both a blessing and a bane. I like talking to Mike the whole way home. I like being able to talk to my friends whenever I want. I like being available to them. I like the safety of knowing that, if something happens (or even if I’m just running late), I can reach Mike or my friends or family.

The tradeoff is that I don’t have as much quiet, uninterrupted Kari time. And I get to the point where I stop answering the phone altogether (or I want to), where I don’t feel able to talk to anyone but Mike, where I just want to turn down the air, put on flannel pajamas, and hide in my bed for a while. And eat popcorn. And drink wine. Or hot tea, since it’s cold in the house.

This week has been an emotional drain. It’s Thursday afternoon and I am exhausted. I feel behind on everything: work, housework, relationships . . . maybe not reading, because I’ve been doing a lot of that. Mike’s been busy with a lot of papers and midterms. And I just want to go home and read and eat and sleep for days.

And I’m going to try to stay off the phone.

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