I am typing this at 41,000 feet in the air from a sunny Air Tran window seat, but I can’t upload it and send it to you when I am done, for the in-flight wi-fi for this flight is not working today. My reaction to this news was a mild annoyance and dismay, for as fast as technologies are developed, we instantly adopt them and then expect them to be everywhere all the time, serving us with productivity, connectivity, and the ability to watch YouTubesof loud goats. To be disconnected from the hub of world communication, frankly, feels like you are missing a good party that everyone will later tell you was “so awesome!” In reality, you are probably just missing a few spam emails, someone taking a photo of his lunch with Instagram, and poorly-written crowd-sourced news stories on CNN. I shouldn’t be bothered by a few hours downtime off the buzz grid, really, and I am properly annoyed at myself for being annoyed about “no plane wi-fi” in the first place.

Coincidentally, this goes along nicely with a New York Times article I just read about some of the major Silicon Valley tech giants coming together to conference about this exact idea -- that millions and millions of people are wigging out over their devices and spend more time with them than nearly anything else in their lives. Of course, we all may cynically smirk at this – these are the guys that make scads of cash the more we stay online and the more we invest our lives into their products. The extra-strength cynic in me thinks maybe this conference is designed to forge some kind of eventual legal strategy if or when credible lawsuits start to place blame for physical and mental illnesses on our dependence upon their tech stuff. Maybe, yes, but it’s also certain that the tech innovators’ own ranks are affected by the same affliction, and likely much more so, and they have their own problems to contend with.

Ever known anyone in the last ten years or so who has lost their cell phone, or have you yourself lost one? Oh my god, it’s like the universe has completely collapsed upon the hapless sap. She is bereft and alone (“All my contacts!! How will I ever get in touch with anyone ever again!), directionless (because she uses the in-phone GPS to tell her how to get everywhere), emotionally turned inside out for lack of 100 back-and-forth texts sorting out where to go for dinner, where at some point in the meal everyone at the table would have pulled out their phones and checked their emails. I, too, have been this hapless sap, and it’s indeed an icky vulnerable feeling, which is SO STUPID. Should any telephone or computer or i-Anything have the ability to own everything we do to such a degree?

The smart answer is, “No!” but, as I think the conferencing Silicon Valley extra-big-brains will discover, once you open up Pandora’s iBox, there’s really no shutting it again. We are hooked, and life is now different for it. So now what? Anything? Is there anything to do to convince the masses that a little boredom and disconnection actually is a really good and necessary thing? Can you survive the discomfort of shutting down your crap for a few hours (when you are awake -- sleeping does not count, sorry) without being so self-conscious about it that you are just timing the minutes before you can fire up again?

I might be a poor one to ask. I spend a lot of time on my laptop per day, figuring out what I want to write about 365 days of the year, or processing photos. I currently have over 1800 emails sitting in just one of my accounts. I love taking pictures of my lunch with my phone, too. But I do know how to zone out and like doing it; plop me on a beach and I will sunbathe and swim and go shelling and people-watch and eat a popsicle…OK, so maybe I pull my phone out to take a video of the kids, what of it, huh? Sigh.

Life is now different.

But hey, this particular essay never would have been composed without me getting shut out from wi-fi access, so I will keep that in mind. All of us need time to just be, free from the invisible threads that not only beautifully inform and connect us so well, but tie us down so mercilessly, too.