This morning, I left my beautiful, intelligent, Android (we’re in a committed relationship) on the counter of a public restroom. Just five minutes later, when I panicked at the emptiness of my pockets, I Usain Bolted back, only to find my phone no longer there.
COMMENCE PHYSICAL SPASMS OF TERROR, PROFUSE BACK SWEAT, AND INTERNAL WATERFALL OF TEARS. For the rest of the day, I was forced to go about my daily schedule while feeling completely disconnected from the rest of the world. At one point, I probably convinced myself that I had never felt so alone in my life.
For starters, after lunch at a restaurant, I had to calculate the tip out on paper notebook because my calculator app is my phone. I felt like such a peasant beneath the stares of my friends, all waiting for me to finish.
I also had to find my way to an appointment and later to meet a friend. Of course, I never scoped out directions in advance because that’s what damn GPS’s are for. It might have been the most lost I’ve felt in a really long time—both literally and figuratively. To add to my misery, I didn’t have any way check how late I was going to be—five minutes? Ten minutes? How would I know what kind of excuse to make if I didn’t know the degree of my tardiness? And honestly, who even wears watches now for purposes other than fashion?
Later, while I was waiting for my meeting to begin, I had nothing to make me look occupied among a sea of people on their phones, probably tweeting about the awkwardness of initial social interaction. So, I was forced to sit idly—because what was I going to do, introduce myself to the girl next to me? Have a nice chat because that’s what humans do? I then had to write my meeting notes down on paper, like some plebian, because I didn’t have the convenience of my phone. As I type this out now, I am working from ideas scrawled in 2-year-old penmanship on the same ugly scrap of paper.
To add to my stress, I didn’t have Google at my fingertips to ask “what do I do when I lose my cell?” I was so preoccupied over my lack of a search engine that it wasn’t until six hours later, when I finally got a laptop with Facebook, that a friend suggested I call my phone… Thanks so much to the advice of friends over social media, I got my phone back! I then finally could post a status about my relief, and more importantly, my plans to duct tape my phone to my body in the future.
In summation, this experience was the definition of “the struggle is real”; the exemplification of “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone”; the epitome of “I got 99 problems and every single one relates to not having a smartphone…” Who said time travel was impossible? I’d basically been transported back to pre-90’s today, dear Lord.
Now, after spending all day listening to myself whine—I have reached a new level of personal disgust. I guess you can just give me the award for biggest first world bitch. Since when did a cell phone become another extension of my body? When did I become so intellectually, creatively, socially, personally dependent on a device that now outsmarts me? An electronic object smaller than my own hand has the ability to make me feel powerless for a day. I’m a human being, dammit, how is that possible? My species is supposed to be the smartest one on the planet.
The fact that I am so invested in my smartphone is definitely not a healthy reliance. My hands felt a sense of crippling loneliness, my pockets had an emptiness that made me physically uncomfortable, my brain remained in a painful state of worry. My entire day revolved around my lack of a smartphone, rather than how smart I could be without one.
Perhaps it’s time to lose my phone more often: relearn some mental math skills, teach myself how to read a map, recall the art of writing in real pen, and reacquaint myself with human interaction. I don’t want to live in a world of smart phones and dumb people. I want to be smart, too.