12 days ago, I lost my phone in a field, full of people, at night time. It was never to be seen again.
To begin with it felt liberating not having to answer to anyone, and I moved about freely, unaware of the goings on of the world. My excuse for anything was ‘oh sorry, I don’t have a phone’. Nobody could ask me favours, or request things of me, and it was great.
But then the weekend ended and I had to rely on people to wake me up because I didn’t have an alarm. They never quite got the time right, repercussions of which included me not having time to boil my morning egg (absolute crisis), not having time to have coffee and having to have tea instead (crisis number two), and having to rush to work. I couldn’t stop the feeling that it wasn’t my fault, but instead the fault of whoever woke me up, and so I started the day with blame, anguish and distress.
After this, problems kept occurring. I couldn’t check my emails on the go, or communicate in any way, unless I was indoors and connected to the Wifi. There was no checking the weather forecast, checking the football scores, checking anything.
I resorted to carrying my iPad around, which felt a bit showy/ desperate, especially at the pub. I couldn’t make plans with anyone, ring to apologise for being late (because *somebody* had woken me up late).
Then came my birthday. A birthday without a phone is no birthday at all. No texts, no calls, no nothing – apart from a few Facebook comments, but they hardly left me feeling celebratory. I went away for a birthday weekend and during meals and drinks in the pub there were frequent 5 minute gaps of silence, where people were checking various things on their phones. I wouldn’t have noticed these gaps ordinarily because I’d be doing the same, but instead I sat and watched as the silent table occupied themselves with things happening elsewhere.
I realised that I spend almost every minute of my time alone, looking at my phone. It’s like a book that never ends, constantly there for me to pick up and continue reading. If I’m lying in bed in the morning, lying in bed before sleep, eating my breakfast, walking to work, having lunch, waiting for a friend, it’s my go to thing. How sad is that? Gone are the days where we have any self-sufficiency, or times where we are forced to listen to our own thoughts, and remove ourselves from everyone else’s lives.
Now that I’ve got my phone back, I’ve decided to set myself some boundaries. Once I’m in bed and my alarm has been set, the phone is going away. Walks I’m going to spend thinking, and when I’m next with my friends having dinner, whoever checks their phone first can pay the bill.