Do you have a charger at work, in your car, and three at home? Do you have 40 percent battery life at 9am? Do you have more wi-fi connections than contacts? If you answered yes to the previous questions you might be like me. Hi, my name is Tim and I am a phone-aholic. It has been 24 hours since the last time I plugged in my passcode and scrolled through Twitter. It has been 1,140 minutes since the last time I crushed any type of candy or saga-ed any pets. It has been 86,400 seconds since I’ve laughed at someone getting hit in the balls on reddit. Yesterday I forgot my phone at home and was forced to see the other side….the other side of people who don’t own cell phones.
If you’ve never smoked a cigarette, you probably won’t understand this, but when you quit smoking your food tastes better, you can smell better, and you can breathe better. It’s like suddenly all of your senses are intensified. 1 hour after realizing I left my cell phone sitting atop the bathroom counter as I was miles away from it things started to change for me as well. Suddenly colors were brighter. Astonishingly, people had faces. Incredibly, I don’t know the names of anyone I work with. Did you know that Chicago has big buildings? I didn’t. They are pretty cool. Did you know that pretty much everyone’s favorite machine at the gym is their God damned phone? I do now.
When I entered work sans phone, I noticed something terribly troubling and can only imagine what it’s like for people who don’t own a phone. I noticed that EVERYONE is ALWAYS on their fucking phone. I went into the break room to grab some water and noticed the 12 tables we have in there. There were 6 people in the breakroom, and each of them sat a table away from each other and each of them had their nose in their phone. What if two of those people were soul mates? You can’t cuddle with your phone. What if one had a kidney ready for harvesting to another person? They will never know as there they were, watching the 5,000th shitty video of someone pouring cold water over their fat head.
I had to have face to face conversations with people during my 24 hours of sobriety. I’m not a pilgrim. I didn’t come over here on the Mayflower. I shouldn’t have to do that. I had to bring a real-life newspaper to the bathroom. Did you know they make real-life newspapers? Well they do and it was either that or drag my desktop and monitor to the bathroom so I think I made the right choice.
Did you know smart phone addiction has been linked to short term memory loss? Now, I am pretty sure that that simply means we weren’t listening in the first place and has nothing to do with memory but hey, I’m not a scientist. Still, the study has its merits. Everyone I talked to during my 24 hour phonelessness had no clue I even talked to them to begin with. I now understand how my girlfriend feels when she gets pissed at me when I ask her ten times what’s for dinner as I’m eating it while reading my phone. PS, it was spaghetti and it was delicious.
My day without a phone made me see the other side of things. People are inattentive dickbags. And I am one of them. The greatest things in life are not on your phone. You don’t use your phone at a concert, you use a lighter. You don’t Google trivia answers, you debate them. From now on, I will try my hardest to leave my phone behind as living in the moment and being unworried about taking a picture or checking in to places is the way to go. You see more. You hear more. And for fuck’s sake people, we need a little more of that from time to time.
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