The Best Part of the Great 2011 Blackberry Outage

Sometimes being disconnected from the world isn't such a bad thing

For three days last week, Blackberry users were pissed—and justifiably so. Last week, Blackberries all over the world stopped functioning. The outage surprised millions of users—including me. For a day and a half, I obsessively turned my phone off and on, hoping that it would somehow jumpstart my inbox. (It didn’t.) I cursed every time an email showed up on my computer, but not on my phone, hoping the technology would hear my rage. (It didn’t.) I even banged the phone down hard on my desk, hoping I could smack some sense into it. (I didn’t.)

And then I gave up and resigned myself to a life without immediate communication. The shocking thing: It was really … nice.

As a web editor, most of my days are spent in front a screen and communication is instantaneous. Whether it’s a quick IM from my boss, or an email from another editor, or a Tweet from one of our followers, or a message from a Facebook friend, or a good, old-fashioned phone call from a colleague, I’m plugged in constantly. (And that’s not even counting my personal life, which includes texts from my sister, assorted messages from my boyfriend, calls from my mom and BBMs from my pals.)

With a malfunctioning Blackberry, I got lunch without a near-constant vibration in my pocket. I read on the bus and the only interruption was a group of teenagers screaming about a stinky passenger. I left my phone in my locker at the gym instead of holding it while I ran on the treadmill.

It was the least connected I’ve been in at least two years—and it was awesome. I felt more focused and less stressed.

It’s not a lifestyle choice I’ll be maintaining now that Blackberry has restored service, but it was a good reminder that sometimes, it’s okay to unplug and smell the SEPTA bus.