The short battery life, the fear of running out, the dreaded wait until the phone is charged, ever wondering “is it enough?” – it is the fear of missing out. What will I miss in these moments out of battery? What will happen while I am away? What if something cool happens and I can’t post it, and then no one knows?!
A book is patient. Its pages don’t keep filling with new stories and new words. Nothing is missed if you put a book to the side for an hour, a day, a week, a month, or years. It is all there. In the olden days, there must have been a sense of urgency when we could barely read by the light of a candle. When the precious time between long work hours, toiling on fields or in factories, between housework, dawn, and sunset — if at all! – could barely be filled with a page of a good book. With electric lights, these worries are gone. Now it is our own patience, our own commitments to work, family, events, dinners, soccer games, sports classes, birthday parties, play dates, that keep us away from a book. It is our heightened standard of cleanliness, the endless mountains of laundry and sweeping and vacuuming and tidying, that keep us away from continuing or finishing reading a book.
But the book is there. Quiet. Patient. Every page at any time. Its words resting on paper like mountains. And like the boulders on a mountain, they are only afraid of the weather.
So next time you want to extend the battery life of our devices, when you want to add that energy saver to the OS of the phone, when you talk about solar charging or kinetic energy charging (who would have thought of charging your phone while continuously hammering it on the edge of your desk?!) – think about what you are doing to all the social media apps. You are killing them. No more sense of urgency. I will never miss out. I can always post. People will turn to the next scarcity, and phones and apps will go out of fashion. You killed your own industry. Well done.