Has this ever happened to you? A total stranger, disturbed by the flashing “message waiting” indicator on my Blackberry, felt compelled to tap me on the shoulder to bring the unread email to my attention. We looked at each other for a moment and then both had a good laugh. Although it was a seriously funny moment shared by two unknowns in an airport, it was also a little disturbing. It made we wonder: Have we become so conditioned to respond to our communication devices that we are moved to help our neighbors comply?
Did you know that 72% of people on vacation check their email daily? I wonder what would happen if we charged vacationers a small fee each time they checked their email during off time. We are, after all, teaching the world that it’s okay to message us because although technically we’re “offline” we are at this very moment within close proximity to a Blackberry or PDA - waiting for that ubiquitous blinking red light to alert us to the arrival of a new message. (Notice I did not make reference to the audible alert. No. Those of us completely addicted to email during vacation are smart enough to turn off all sounds thereby somewhat disguising our addiction from the rest of the family.)
I’m on vacation for the next few days. I won’t be responding to email messages. Probably.