Becoming disconnected

I just got back from a much-needed vacation to Buenos Aires. Time with Jonobie (my wonderful friend and travel companion), sunshine, and new adventures were all in order. Also in order was becoming almost completely disconnected from my day-to-day life.

I removed Slack and my personal email account from my phone (work email is never accessed from my phone), the two most prevalent distractions from living in the now. I removed easy access to NPR and the New York Times from my phone’s home screen and succeeded in not looking at them once. I tried to limit my time on Facebook (already accessed only from the mobile web interface) to posting photos into our shared Argentina! album. Ditto Instagram. That was mostly, but not entirely, successful.

And you know, it was excellent.

I received a small handful of texts from people that I love and a few emails to my travel-only email account from the very few people that have the address. Through those and friends commenting on the Facebook and Instagram photos I felt somewhat connected with my tribe.

I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the things piling up while I was away – things that likely don’t warrant worrying about anyway and none of which needed an immediate response from me (and they certainly didn’t get one!). I wasn’t tied to checking my personal email and Slack messages. I was free to live in the now, mostly guilt-free.

The challenge is to pull this level of disconnectedness into my daily life while still being connected to people. I’ve decided to stop having my personal email open at work. I’m going to squash all kinds of Slack notifications, perhaps not even reinstalling it on my phone. I’m going to continue ramping down reading the news to mitigate the stress that results from reading about the shit-show that is our new president.

That said, how can I retain connectivity with my tribe? More game nights? More lunches with friends? More texts? More old-school long-form emails? Therein lies the real challenge: how to stay connected to people and yet disconnected from the electronic distractions.

An introvert’s report of Seattle Pride 2012

This was the best Pride I’ve ever attended. Not that the Pride itself was particularly amazing, although the weather was perfect. But rather the friends I hung out with made the entire weekend. Pride lasts all weekend, with events happening on Saturday, mostly up on the hill, and Sunday both near the Seattle Center and up on the hill. Last year I went to the parade on Sunday, spent about 30 minutes at the festival at the Seattle Center, and then bailed for a movie by myself. That’s it.

This year on Saturday, Chris asked me to join him and Will for dinner on the hill. What I thought was just going to be dinner turned into a bait and switch of dinner then going to the Purr block party for 4 hours. The introvert in me physically cringed at the idea of the block party, but I really enjoyed myself after getting there. One of the things I love about Chris is that he has a great read of me on when to push me outside of my social comfort zone and when to back off. It helped that we arrived at Purr early in the evening, so it wasn’t as insanly crowded, and Chris knew a lot of people which made hanging out fun. The Buffy Sunday crew (Jay, Phil, Anthony, et al) showed up later as well. Eventually I reached my tipping point of too many people and my legs hurt from standing so much (standing for 4 hours after running 13.1 miles that morning wasn’t ideal).1

Sunday morning Chris and Shaun came down for brunch at Mecca Cafe. We caught the first part of the parade where Will joined us. I’m not a huge fan of parades, Pride or otherwise, but I like showing support for the companies (such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, F5) and organizations (eg: Seattle Public Schools) that support my community. We left about an hour into it and headed to my apartment for a brief respite before tackling the chaos at the Seattle Center. Having my apartment be, literally, a block from the Seattle Center festivities was super-handy. Drinks, bathrooms, and a break from the crowds within easy walking distance. The absolute highlight of the ongoings at the Seattle Center happened when Chris, Shaun, Will and I were sitting down on a small rise when a gentleman whom I’d chatted with online months ago, but hadn’t met in person, stopped, saw me, and came up to introduce himself. Did I mention this gentleman was very handsome? No? Well he is. After we exchanged a few words, aforementioned gentleman realized he knew Chris and Shaun and said hello to them as well. But he stopped because of me.2

I put on my extroverted hat again that evening and went back to Purr with Shaun where we ran into Brian and his friend Shara. We briefly checked out the line at the Cuff, decided it was too long, and went back to Purr. When we walked in, “Call Me Maybe” just started playing — a song that I hate to admit I love — and I danced to it. This completely floored Shaun, and probably Pip and Robin who were there as well, as I don’t dance. But then they played Pink’s Raise Your Glass, then Third Eye Blind’s Semi-Charmed Life which are probably some of my favorite songs so I danced to those too. Around 11p we meet back up with Chris, grabbed a quick burger at Dick’s, and called it a successful Pride.

I had an absolute blast this weekend and realize, again, how much I love my friends. Chris and Shaun made the weekend an unforgettable experience.

1 That night I posted this very poorly written update to Facebook which garnered numerous chuckles:

That’s a first — Casey out at a club on Pride. Between my legs hurting from the race and the mass of people, I think I left at the perfect time.

2 Later that night we exchanged a couple brief messages, but the one that made my weekend was this one from him:

You caught my eye all sorts of up down and sideways. We need to hang out very soon :)