Exquisite Chantelle does nude yoga and also swims, hikes, and camps. She likes to get away with a boyfriend and spend the weekend “disconnected” from electronic distractions. She believes that modern technology, while wonderful, tends to reduce people to little more than machines, inundated with information and overwhelmed by the pace of the world around them.
“Too many of us live at the mercy of our machines,” she says. “Our phones, or computers, or tablets. They’re all there, just poking and prodding and beeping at us, telling us when we’ve got text messages, and emails, and instant messages, all the time, just constantly demanding our attention. Can you remember the last time you went out without your phone on you, when you didn’t need the phone for anything? Most of the time you don’t need your phone. Sure, there are times when you need it to call for a ride, or when there’s an emergency, or to coordinate your plans out with whoever you’re going with in case the two of you split up during the course of your trip. You don’t really need the phone most of the other time. Yet you take it with you. When you go out to a restaurant, or walk through a mall, or even walk by kids on their way to school or waiting for the bus, what are all those people doing? They’re not seeing the world around them. They’re not engaged with life and with living. They have their noses buried in their phones and they see only what’s on their screens. I’ve never seen anything more depressing than a bunch of young, fun, attractive people out at a restaurant or in a club or somewhere else, and instead of talking and laughing and joking with each other, they’ve got their noses buried in their phones! How can you possibly enjoy your life if you’re more worried about taking pictures of it and posting it to social media than you are with living it?”
Chantelle goes on, “I think the machines have taken over our world. I also think the machines are winning. I don’t know if it’s possible to end that. It may be that our world is continuing to change in ways that we can’t predict and that will seem all the more strange a few years from now compared to now. I mean, think about what the world was like before the Internet. You didn’t know there was going to be an Internet back then, and you could never possibly have predicted what Internet access was going to do to the world. Do you ever wonder what that next great change will be, the next amazing thing that we simply can’t predict and don’t understand yet? I wonder about that all the time, and I wonder if it’s going to further disconnect us from the world around us. It would be fair to say that I kind of worry about it. I don’t want to live in a world full of zombies who see only what’s on their personal electronic devices. I want to live in a world of real people, where I get to know interesting men and women and I have fun with them and we all enjoy each other’s company. When I see people ‘enjoying’ an evening out with their friends, but their noses are buried in their phones, I just want to scream at them. I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them and tell them that life is passing them by. I think we would all be better off if we understood that. But I don’t do that to people. How people live their lives isn’t my business, and it isn’t my problem to correct. I let people live and I do my own thing. That’s all you can do.”
Chantelle explains that she herself disconnects by going camping, either by herself or with a boyfriend. “Only when you go camping do you have any chance of leaving behind the technology that saturates our lives,” she says. “But you never really know, because we are getting better and better at modifying our technology so that it can go more places, be more places, and we can’t be free of it. Think about how quickly phones have advanced. There was a time when a cell phone was just that, a phone. When text messaging first came along, it was slow and awkward, and it’s a wonder that it ever actually caught on. Now we are all much more likely to text than we are to use our phones. Arguably, the calling feature is the feature of our smartphones we use the least. And everybody has one of these data devices. You’ve got the Internet, your e-mail, and everything else that goes with having a smartphone in your pocket. Your only hope of getting away from all of this is to find a way to separate yourself from signal coverage. There are still places in this world that you can go camping where there’s no signal to reach you, but it’s getting harder and harder. It’s gotten to the point where I have to go farther and farther into the wilderness to get where the signal can’t reach. And really, can’t we all just agree to answer our phones less? We all have voice mail. Except for emergencies, there is no reason we can’t just ignore our phones for those times when we’re actually engaged in our lives and doing something else. When I get out and go camping, I want to spend my time enjoying nature. I don’t want to be looking at the Internet or getting messages. I want to be completely focused on my companion, and I want to be able to enjoy my time away. The problem we have in this world is that none of us are enjoying the here and now. We’re all of us focused on something far in the future, something that’s not here yet.