Slowly opening eyes as the rain is wildly splashing onto the bedroom’s window. Looking to the right lies the iPhone on the bedside table using it’s waking siren to claim attention to itself. It hasn’t been touched for over six hours. It needs to be touched now, if you want it to be quiet. Amazing how a lovely piece of technology is able to irritate millions of users every morning and still be lovable. Putting out the alarms is soothing. Back to a state of vast nothingness. Eyes seeking and finding the first rain distorted rays of light through the curtains. The hand reaches back for the iPhone. What has happened while sleeping? Even Twitterrific is waking up. It changes its theme from a black to white background, resembling a waking up routine. Fifty new tweets. Scrolling through them quickly it seems like nothing exhilarating has been happening. Just a few nerds arguing about whether or not the new iOS 6.1 update drains the battery faster. Guess that is the most important thing to argue about today. Checking the RSS news feeds to see if anything special needs to be send to Instapaper for reading later, possibly while having breakfast. Wound op with an interesting article on macworld about cutting the cord and an interesting article in the NY Times about European data collection law. Get up, put some temporary clothes on and walk to the kitchen. It’s time to make magic happen.
I open the door to the kitchen. It’s beautiful aluminum exterior is waiting for me: the Bialetti espresso maker. I fill up its water compartment and put in the coffee holder. I carefully put the fresh coffee in, teaspoon by teaspoon. When full, I carefully use the spoon to make the surface of coffee as smooth as possible and put a bit of pressure onto it. I take the coffee compartment and put it on top. The tighter you screw the coffee compartment onto the coffee, the more pressure is applied. Too tight makes it bitter, to loose makes the coffee weak, just right produces black gold. The stove is at medium heat as the Bialetti is put on it. Three minutes later it makes enjoyable sizzling sounds to let you know your cup is ready as the room fills with the wonderful scent of fresh brewed coffee. Pour it in a cup and the annoying start of the day is replaced by a fulfilling experience of making and tasting great coffee.
I’m almost all digital. I read news digitally, my newspapers and magazines are digital, my books are e-books, my articles and papers are written and send digitally. Almost everything I do involves either my MacBook, my iPad or my iPhone. It’s my connection to the outside world and it’s the connection to my own thoughts. Even though I enjoy my face to face conversations, I need my iPhone to plan them. I used to think I wanted all digital always. Not anymore. I need analog in my life. I have a Nespresso. I could take a cup (ordered online), put it in the Nespresso and have an espresso within 45 seconds. I decide to do it the longer way, five minutes total with the Bialetti, because I enjoy the act of doing something for my coffee. The result is I have five minutes preparing my coffee and have my mind wake up slowly and peacefully and as a reward I have a great cup of coffee. The routine isn’t even complete. I want to grind my own beans to maximize flavor. Even though my coffee is reasonably fresh, the grinding is done by the coffee sellers, meaning it gets a bit stale if you keep it longer than two weeks. By grinding the beans yourself, it’s fresh every time.
It’s the same way with tea. Using fresh leaves instead of the easy way of pre-bagged Pickwick tea. Fresh tastes better, but also the preparation is much more satisfying. It’s the same with clocks. An analog clock presents careful and deliberate design, a digital clock misses the character of the analog maker. As a digital citizen I’m looking for ways to be analog, using analog as an abstract meaning. Digital for me resembles the shackles of convenience: in food, in drinks, in life in general. Analog resembles the going back to flavor, doing something with your hands to create a touchable result. There are things I would never want to give up digitally. Using my iPhone to select news and use my iPad to read the selected – I hate paper newspapers -, using iPhone maps instead of real maps, the instant gratification of looking up information and consuming things like music and movies, are just a few things I enjoy. But I love the feel and smell of freshly brewed espresso made by myself instead of a barista or an automated machine, I love the look and sound of an old LP record and I love analog clocks.
Mediated through (mobile) networks we are always connected to the internet and with each other. It’s beautiful. For most things we have to click or tap twice to get what we want. As an impatient human being it is the best thing to happen to me. However, I love to unwind and not use technology from time to time. I don’t have the budget to fly to the French riviera every two weeks, so I enjoy nerding out on coffee, tea and food. Slow, deliberate and careful preparation to unwind and have great tasting results. Thinking about it, I’m doing these things to temporarily escape the haste and stress of current society. A reason to be slow and enjoy living in the moment.