Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Day Away from Media

So for all those who have not read Brian’s post or are interested in what my take is on our media experiment this is what I thought. As most of you know Brian and I decided to see what a 24 hour unmediated day would be like. Being the huge techno nerd that I am, I had huge doubts about this experiment and thought that it was doomed for failure from the get go. So on Tuesday we actually began our unmediated journey. My day began by me waking up at 11am, this was a feat all in itself because prior to my waking up I went to sleep at around 5am. Why did I go to bed at 5am you ask? The reason is because I could not go to sleep for the life of me. Since our experiment began at 12am and I usually go to sleep with the TV on I could not sleep. I tried to go to sleep at about 2am after a rousing game of billiards and “Skip Bo.” I sat in my bed and began to read, when I could read no longer I lay in bed trying to sleep. This began around 3:30am and the last time I remember checking the clock it was 5am. So right then and there the experiment was off to a bad start.

That morning after I showered and got dressed Brian and I began to clean the apartment. The cleaning expedition began at about 1pm and we cleaned from then until about 4pm. Our whole apartment is spotless. I have to say that the cleaning part actually wasn’t that bad, it was something that had to be done and because we had so much more time on our hands we did a thorough job of it. The most notable change was while we were cleaning how quite the place was. It was so quite that we could even hear the humming of the overhead lights and we had to turn them off in order to maintain our sanity. We tried to fill in the lack of noise by singing. That lasted for a good half hour or so and it also provided us with conversation. I have to say though that even while we were singing I began to sing the theme songs to some of our childhood cartoons, Duck Tales, Sesame Street, Pokemon, etc. Even in an unmediated environment media still played a role in our lives.

After we finished cleaning Brian and I went grocery shopping and made dinner for 9 people, once again the noticeable difference was the lack of background noise. Even at dinner we usually have music on just to fill in the silence between conversations but I felt that without the background noise the silence was more uncomfortable. For this reason I also felt more pressure to make conversation just so there wasn’t that awkward lull. I do have to say that after people finished eating we did sit and talk longer than usual. I’m not sure if the conversation was longer because of the lack of media or because we were all genuinely having fun but that was another difference that I noticed.

After dinner people left and it was just me and our other roommate. This was a huge pickle for me because this is where the experiment would really come into affect. I was now faced with the option of having one on one human bonding or the other option, sleep. Since it was only about 8pm sleep wasn’t a real option so me and the other roomie decided to go out and play billiards. We did this for a while and then we came back to the apartment, by this time it was about 10pm and I had made it to the home stretch. After an event filled day I had nothing to do, so I decided to read the book “The Neverending Story.” Our other roommate came in and she decided to read with me. I usually don’t read with other people and didn’t know how this was going to work, I wasn’t sure if there was going to be awkward silence or would we talk and not get any reading done. It was actually an enjoyable experience, she explained things that were going on in her book and I explained things that were going on in mine. Surprisingly two hours had gone by pretty fast but when it was over I was thankful. The reason I was thankful was because I was tired of looking for things to do that would occupy my time. I just wanted to relax and watch a movie. When midnight came around my other roommate and I had picked out a movie and committed to that for the rest of the night.

I don’t know what to really make from this experiment. I originally thought that I would see and talk to people longer than I would usually but that didn’t really happen. The thing that I noticed the most was the silence. I did talk to people more but it was to avoid the awkward silence, it wasn’t because I wanted a closer human experience but it was just to avoid awkwardness. Maybe media has made me uncomfortable around people in silence but I don’t see how being around people in silence could help me either. This experiment has led me to the conclusion that background noise provides topics for conversation which in turn leads people to learn more about one another. Without this medium of background noise there would just be silence and that doesn’t really help anyone.

-J.D. (BigBear)

No comments: