Backchat With Cat­boy

our man on the ra­dIo goes on a dIg­I­tal detox Backchat

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - CONTENTS - with Cat­boy

Can our man on the ra­dio sur­vive a dig­i­tal detox?

I I ar­rived in the UAE a few hours ago, in the mid­dle of the night, af­ter a hol­i­day in Cyprus with my fam­ily. Dur­ing this hol­i­day I also went into self-im­posed so­cial me­dia and on­line ex­ile. It was time for a break. I needed to switch off. Isn’t that what hol­i­days are sup­posed to be all about?

Well, ap­par­ently not. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by travel agen­cies, well over half of us will check work e-mails whilst on hol­i­day. Men are the worst cul­prits and it causes a third of cou­ples to fall out.

I reg­u­larly spend way too much time ne­glect­ing my fam­ily in or­der to ful­fil my em­ploy­ment obli­ga­tions be­cause it seems that is what is ex­pected of us th­ese days. So­cial me­dia plays a large part of my job, so my shift doesn’t fin­ish when I walk out of the build­ing. The same goes for cor­po­rate e-mail. Years ago, when I started work­ing, I was never con­tacted out­side work­ing hours about any­thing, let alone on hol­i­day. Work got done dur­ing work­ing hours. Ask most em­ploy­ers and I’m sure they’d ‘of­fi­cially’ say that noth­ing has changed, but we all know that the first re­spon­ders to evening e-mails and noc­tur­nal What­sapps are prob­a­bly teacher’s pets and, in th­ese days of every­one be­ing re­place­able, no­body wants to be seen as the of­fice stick-inthe-mud. Well, I am. Two weeks ago I an­nounced my brief sab­bat­i­cal from all so­cial me­dia and, for the first time ever, I left my com­puter at home. My fam­ily took this with a pinch of salt be­cause they’ve seen what hol­i­day dis­con­nect­ing usu­ally en­tails for me: in­creas­ingly ex­tended toi­let time; sur­rep­ti­tious un­der-the-ta­ble click­ing; and, even­tu­ally, bla­tant screen time with a plethora of lame ex­cuses… I’m post­ing the pho­tos for our par­ents to see; The boss can tell I’ve read the mes­sage, so I have to re­ply now; It’s a bril­liant video – the whole world should see it!

By the end of most fam­ily hol­i­days I have bro­ken my prom­ises to both my fam­ily and my­self and every­one, in­clud­ing me, is dis­ap­pointed. This time I man­aged it. You can check if you don’t be­lieve me. It was fan­tas­tic. I didn’t miss it at all. I still took pho­tos and made as many mem­o­ries. I still kept a hand­writ­ten diary, which is in­fin­itely more ro­man­tic than a Face­book sta­tus up­date with a smiley emoji.

And I didn’t read a sin­gle e-mail. For two weeks.

This re­sulted in me open­ing my Mac to­day and see­ing the e-mails whirring-in. It was the elec­tronic ver­sion of be­ing slapped across the face with a cold, wet fish. It’s life say­ing: “Hol­i­day’s over, sucker!”

Within the thou­sands of mes­sages I’ve ne­glected, were the ed­i­tors of What’s On who sent a num­ber of re­minders about need­ing this month’s page. Now, the What’s

On team are, with the ex­cep­tion of one north­ern brute, an ex­tremely lovely bunch, so the e-mails went from po­litely ask­ing to po­litely plead­ing.* So, I apol­o­gise for my eleventh-hour en­try and pledge to give suf­fi­cient no­tice re­gard­ing fu­ture, for­eign fri­vol­ity.

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