Vacation means the mother of all firewalls - Metro US

Vacation means the mother of all firewalls

I’m about to go on vacation.

You know, “vacation?” When you trade the office, the desk, the phone and high-speed Internet for the hotel room with the desk, the phone and high-speed Internet.

Vacations are quality time spent with “families” when you only check your messages 35 times a day instead of the regular 70. It’s that time when you can get out on the beach or the golf course and listen to all the tweets.

There are even some birds left, too.

Wait a minute! Stop the insanity! It’s time to draw a line in the sand. What better time and place than on vacation, where sand is often available.

On this vacation, I pledge to unplug and rediscover my surroundings, in this case the coast of Oregon, which has some of the most awe-inspiring sand on the planet.

It won’t be easy, because wherever I go I can get five bars and do business, 24/7. Somewhere on Earth there’s a client who needs me, a deadline to be met, an email to answer, a friend request, a follower to add. The plan is to set up the Mother of All Firewalls, let nothing through and just sit there, contemplating the sand between my toes.

I’m a little concerned since there’s another person coming — my wife — and she will probably expect me to interact with her in real time, face-to-face, and we’re not talking Facebook.

Relationships these days consist of two people sitting in deck chairs with devices talking to everyone they know except each other. What do we say to each other? Like OMG, who RU?

I’m hardly the only one who feels this way. Out there, on the road, at the breakfast buffet, the beach, the patio, I’m likely to encounter other fidgeting workaholics sneaking desperate furtive glances at their BlackBerrys while pretending to be interested in this seashell or that sunset. To you I say:

We’re pathetic. A couple weeks a year — at least — it’s a good idea to stop being important multi-tasking members of the hive and just Be. Be a husband, a dad, a wife, a daughter, a son, a (real) friend. Caution, this requires something called an attention span, with which you may not be familiar.

Cold turkey, that’s my only hope. Leave the smart devices at home and take only the stupid ones, like a flip phone with a My Sharona ringtone for ordering pizza in Cannon Beach.

Now, how do you set up those “I’m away until Aug. 16” messages on email?

Paul Sullivan is a Vancouver-based journalist and owner of Sullivan Media Consulting;

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