Choosing analogue over digital. Field notes on how to cool your mind.

I’m not much into kitchen appliances (that would require me to actually spend time in the kitchen), but I was seriously considering one of those counter-top “hot water” machines. You press a button and out flows boiling water for your tea or soup or quinoa. Mmmmm. Hot. I love hot.

So I head to the department store for the magic boiling water device. As I’m standing in the appliance aisle, I start feeling all sentimental about my kettle and what happens when I make tea:

While I’m waiting for Mr. Kettle to whistle, I’ll go nuzzle my dog for a minute. She looks up to say, “You’re coming over to rub my head, right? ‘Cause that’d be super nice and you’ve got time, so you should.” I’ve tracked that it takes approximately one song for the water to boil, so I crank a tune and do some moves, or sing with Marvin or Stevie (Wonder, not Nicks, though I’m not too proud to sing along with Stevie Nicks). In the time it takes tea to steep, I get the mail, peel open the latest Travel & Leisure and take in a side bar on Italy and dream of a hot Italian guy, but not a guy named Luigi, feeding me the European pasta that apparently has 40% less gluten than the GMO’d crap we’re fed in North America.

Nuzzle. Dance. Dream. Whistle. None of that would happen if I got the magic boiling water device. I’d become an automated tea-o-tron. My dog would die from lack of affection. I’d stop fantasizing of great sex in Tuscany. So duh…

I promptly left the appliance aisle — feeling all simplified and strong-minded, like Laura Ingalls would be proud of me fer stickin’ to m’kettle. I got to thinking about the other intentional choices I make for analogue over digital in my life. Intentional being the key word here. Because my lifestyle/livelihood runs on many-a-device, I need to intentionally savour the slow. Actually, I need to force my self to choose the slow. But it’s worth it. Every time.


  1. Download the whole Beck album and listen to it in the dark. beckmorning
  2. Send one hand written Thank You note a week. You’re probably too rushed and you’ll be tempted to just email or send psychic gratitude (nice try). Email doesn’t count and you know it. Get paper. Get pen. Get stamp.
  3. Stay at the Ace Hotel New York just for the record turntables in each room. Or, you know, buy a turntable of your own. Or you’re allowed to cop out and just download the whole Beck album and listen to it in the dark. hozierYou could also try Hozier’s debut album.
  4. Walk to the post box for the pleasure of it, instead of cramming it in as an errand with a hundred other errands that day.
  5. Print out an article. Fold it. Take it to the park and read it.
  6. Leave your phone at home when you go to the park to read the article (I know, it’s risky. Someone will probably jump off a bridge because they couldn’t get a hold of you for 45 minutes, or you’ll miss the tweet about Armageddon the second you leave the house. Leave it anyway.)

Small things. Teeny tiny gentle things. Just one small analogue choice a week can silence, soothe, and interrupt patterns that need positive interruptions. You can do it. You must. To cool your mind, to feel your own rhythm. To hear your thoughts. To let life find you in-between.

Analogue isn’t efficient. But it makes room for magic.

Now go put the kettle on.

A public service announcement on tea. I read this article from Food Babe on tea and promptly went to my cupboard and ditched half my stash: Do You Know What’s Really In Your Tea?




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