This post is not about Charlie Sheen*

Technology can be a real drag sometimes.

*But touches on similar self-infatuations.

Saturday evening I was in Kansas City and took a wrong turn that took me over the bridge into North Kansas City.

After driving for what seemed like hours (but was only a few minutes) I found a place to turn around. But before I headed back over the bridge I stopped to the side of the road to whip out my iPhone and confirm which way I needed to go. My gut was right, but it was nice to have the confirmation. I hopped back on the road, went over the bridge and then connected to I-70 and returned to Lawrence.

Whew! It’s a good thing I had this modern wonder of technology and didn’t have to drag out that archaic map from the glove box.

Well, that’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. I’m around a free Wi-Fi connection both at work and at home, covering about 90 to 95 percent of my day. Those other times I’m on the road or in a dead spot in a building that causes the iPhone to automatically switch over to AT&T’s wireless network that I am a subscriber of.

What I’ve really been wondering is, do I need to be this connected?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a HUGE fan of this wonderful internet of ours. Heck, it puts food on my table, clothes on my back and so on. But I’m becoming less convinced being connected all the time is a must have.

My data plan is unlimited (grandfathered in from a day when AT&T wasn’t as greedy) at $30 per month and I pay $5 more for 200 text messages. Of course, that’s on top of my phone plan – which I very rarely use – in addition to similar fees we pay for my wife who also has an iPhone. All told, it’s around $140 a month for two iPhones each with voice, data and SMS features.

Is it really worth it?

Yes, it’s nice not to have to carry around a phone and a iPod – which I’d be lost without during the day – but for as little as I use my phone, I could get a pay-as-you-go plan, turn the volume up loud and stick the sucker in my backpack should someone need to call me. I could even take the money I’m saving and get a phone number through Skype and still come out way ahead.

It’s not about the cost, but it is about waste. I’m starting to feel I’m wasting money on something pretty frivolous: the convenience of communication. Can I keep justifying this?

Lastly, I’m really getting annoyed with society’s (self included here) growing infatuation with touchable machines. My parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephew came up last weekend for a visit. They all (save my nephew) have an iPhone. Of course, we reached a point where the phones came out and the playing began. Pictures! Games! Movies! Apps! It’s so amazing!

Is this technology making people less amazing?

I’m actually missing my RAZR now.

What have I become?

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