1. any small knob or disk pressed to activate an electric circuit, release a spring, or otherwise operate or open a machine, small door, toy, etc.
I decided to use the term literally to make this praxis more interesting. So levers were OK, as were cranks and knobs. So specifically I chose the definition of button to be anything that has to be pressed to activate.
The reason for this choice was to make the day I did this harder to complete and thus, more enjoyable for you and me, and to see if maybe something can be learned or if there is a lesson in this at all. If I chose to be broad about button, then I would choose a day when I didn't have to work, and I could easily sit in bed and read comic books all day, turn my phone off and not push any buttons. But that would be as exciting as my Everyday Life completion, which was plenty boring and I didn't need to relive that twice.
So I did this on Saturday, a work day.
On Friday, I documented most of the buttons I thought I would encounter that I wouldn't be able to use.
There were many more I hadn't thought of.
The way I documented my day was to carry around a piece of paper and write my thoughts down as they came to me. So this may sound a lot like a stream of consciousness-type deal, but it was the way these things came to me in the day, so that's how I'm gonna present it.
So the first thing I want to tell you is that some of you may think I cheated because I used my phone a few times during the day. I have a JesusPhone and it uses touch technology, so the phone can be used by touching the glass screen which is not technically a button. In fact it only has two buttons (four if you count the two volume buttons), the power button and the menu button. So I could not turn the phone on. But if I received a call, I could answer it by touching the glass, which I found was a good compromise. So I couldn't check email, or make any calls or look at maps or any other function. All I could do was receive calls. And I could turn off the alarm that woke me at 6:24am on Saturday December 6th. The first thing I usually do in the morning is open my computer and check emails and look at what my friends wrote on SFØ since I went to sleep. But this morning I couldn't, because to open the lappy I would have had to push a button. So, now awake and no lappy to use, I got dressed and decided to start the day early, I got dressed (careful to wear my pants with the clasp and not the button) and put my phone and camera in my pockets, I brought my camera even though I knew I wasn't going to be able to turn it on or use it in any way, but I figured I could give my camera to Ricardo for the day and he could do all of my documenting for me. Now that I was dressed, I went up to the main house to get a banana and the day's schedule. But when I got to the door I couldn't open it, because it had one a'them fancy doorknobs with the button on top of a handle, so I had to walk around and come in through the back door (I'd be able to leave through the front door because there's a knob on the inside). I got my schedule and noticed right away that there's a calculator on the top of my clipboard that I use every day. I have never used the calculator, but now I had to be careful not to push any of the buttons even accidentally. Then as I was leaving the house, getting out was easy because of the knob, but I usually close the door by pushing the button, and closing the door and then releasing the button to lock the door in place, but today I would have to pull the door shut hard to get it to close. Interesting. The first thing I do when I get in the car is to put my earbud headphones in and put my phone between my legs, and then I put on my seatbelt. Oops. Putting it on is no problem, but I wouldn't be able to take it off as I'd have to push the button. So either I'd have to create lots of slack and climb out or have Fredo or Ricardo let me out when we got to our first house. I'm a habitual, compulsive seat-buckler. I never don't put on a seatbelt. This will be a tough one to find a work around on. Hmm. I put in the clutch to enable the car to start, and I start to roll back. I apply some brake. I forgot that the night before I didn't use the E-brake because to disengage the E-brake I'd need to push a button. I'd have to remember not to do that for the rest of the day. Keep it in gear. When I got to Alfredo's apartment, he wasn't waiting out front like usual. When he's not out front, I usually use the Mexican doorbell: the car horn. But today that wasn't an option. I would just have to wait. I also park in the middle of the street between the two flows of traffic on Foothill Blvd. Usually I put on my hazard lights. Today I couldn't do that. So I waited in the middle of the street a hazard and no way of letting Fredo know I was waiting for him. Luckily he saw me out in the street and came out. When we got to Ricardo's place, I waited out front again, not being able to use the horn. This time though, Fredo got bored and he leaned over and honked the horn. I didn't ask, because I didn't want to push his buttons. So with both of my guys, I headed off for the first house of the day. Ricardo pushed the button to let me out of my captive seatbelt. Usually when I get to a house I walk up to the front door, I knock the shave and a haircut, leave off the two bits and ring the doorbell instead. But today, it would only be the knocking as doorbells were dead to me. I was also lucky that I knew all of the houses I was doing on that Saturday, because the next day I didn't know a few houses and had to look them up on the map on my phone and had to call to confirm an address. Something that would've not been possible without using a button. So I'm on a roof when I get a text message from my brother. With the JesusPhone, when you get a text, if you swipe the screen just as it comes in, you are taken to the text screen and can reply without pushing a button. And the typing of a text is just touching the screen. I know this is pushing the rules of what it means to push a button, but I already used the phone to wake me up, so I figured in for a penny... The text I got was "Who's the famous author that died last year?" to which replied "Kurt Vonnegut". When we went to lunch, I devised a way to wrap a bungee cord around my seat and hook the buckle of my seatbelt into the bungee's hook to fasten my seatbelt. I doubt it would save my life in a crash, but it held pretty good. At lunch I usually write the wheresgeorge address on my money and enter it in the site before getting any food. But I thought ahead and did a lot of money the night before. So that was no trouble. Although I did find a problem in the bathroom as the soap dispenser had a button to get the soap out. So I washed with just water, but it wasn't a big deal because we ate at Panda Express and I use chopsticks anyway. Oh, also I forgot to mention that I did indeed give my camera to Rica to document the day. Although I didn't explain that, not wanting to push his buttons to get him to document for me, I just told him that I couldn't use the camera and that since I wasn't using it, he could. I also agreed that I would put up any photos he took. So I have. All of them. And there were a few. When we were working later and I was writing a bill, Rica pointed out that my ball point pen had a button on the end to get the pen part out of it's shell. I pointed out that it was out when I got the clipboard this morning, and (obviously) never pushed it to make it go in. It was a little bit tougher today than usual, but not by much, whenever I had to set a timer and had to set the time, I had to ask Rica for the time. I was afraid I would have to press the icicle light testing gun button at some point during the day, but that never came up. There was one point at night when I was looking for something in the back of the truck at night when I wished I could just get the flashlight and turn it on. At my last house of the night I talked with the homeowner Steve a lot about the buttons and the game, and he remembered me telling him about the game from last year and he asked about a couple of the tasks I was working on then. One of them, I am sad to say is still in the development phase. At the end of the day, when I dropped Fredo Off, he was kind enough to turn the radio to 98.7, which is the most all around dependable radio stations I have, it's not my favorite, but I don't have an antenna, so I take what I can get. Since I couldn't listen to the music on my JesusPhone, which is what I usually do if I can't get a signal, or if I let the boys put on a Spanish radio station. And today it was all Spanish radio, which I listened to unfiltered all day. So I had my good clear radio station set, and he even turned the volume to a nice level before leaving. He coulda been a dick and put on his station and turned the volume all the way up. So I was tired and ready for sleep, but instead, to extend the day out as long as I could, I went to my theater to see theater plays. I got home, took a shower, no buttons in the shower (I used the back door again), and drove to the theater. Again, remembering to leave the car in gear instead of using the E-brake, and thankful to have a manual rather than an automatic transmission (no buttons to push). When I walked up to the theater I was asked if I wanted to work the box office tonight, and of course I did, I love to work box office, but I hesitated, and when asked why, I explained that I couldn't push any buttons, so if somebody tried to use a credit card, I wouldn't be able to help. My friend Brandon understood. He's aware of the game and the silly things I do, so he asked me to work the concessions stand as a concession. I agreed. But sadly couldn't do it as I had to pull a door off of it's hinges and unlock it and put it back on instead. Also no buttons to push there. just used a hammer and screwdriver. Then I watched a play, and watched somebody else taking photographs (jealously), C.M. usually takes the photygraphs for the big show, but he was in the show, and when he's in the show I am usually the default photographer, but couldn't be this night. The show let out after midnight, and I could push buttons again. But decided not to.
Now I want to discuss anything I may have learned by not pushing any buttons for a day. I have done many crazy social or personal boundary experiments in this game, and all have taught me some pretty good lessons. This one was a bit tougher to pull a lesson out of. It made me think about everything I touched in a day, but I often think about those types of things, but this was a bit different, it had me categorizing and really considering and analyzing everything. I'm not sure if it was a good thing, or if any benefit was had. I don't know if I'll live my life any differently now because of this experience. It was a fun challenge and it made Ricardo and Fredo think I was a little bit more crazy than they had previously thought, which is a good thing. I'm glad I was the first to finish one of these, because I think the lessons I learned will help you to do more creative completions. I could have pushed nothing at all for the day, but I couldn't have gone to work. And a me lying in bed reading completion is no fun. And it was interesting and kept me on my toes all day analyzing everything I touched.
And I gave Ricardo my camera all day to document and he took lots of photos, and I have uploaded all of them as well as the few I took the day before and the day after of a few of the buttons and non-buttons I thought I'd encounter. Ricardo also shot two videos, but only one was recoverable and uploadable, I post that here as well (if you want to see the other, you'll have to see it on my computer).