So, my phone died a couple of days ago. Not just “the battery died and it needs recharging”, but complete death, cracked screen, wouldn’t switch on, RIP iPhone. Dead. Deceased. Passed on. Entered the digital afterlife. An ex-phone.
An immediate sense of panic clenched my guts with vicelike intensity. What the hell was I going to do? How would I survive? First things first, call everyone and tell them I would be out of touch. No, wait, I can’t, all the numbers are on my phone! Fine, I’ll post something on Faceboo-no, wait, I do that through my phone too. I’ll tweet…yep, you guessed it, done on my phone.
OK, Plan B, access things through the laptop instead. But what the f-sorry, what the hell is my password for all these things? On my phone they’re already logged in, all the time, just the tap of an icon away. On the laptop? Hours of headscratching as I sit in front of a screen trying to remember how to log in to online banking…re-registering? We’ll send you a text with an activation code…well that’s no bloody use!
I suddenly knew, with a flash of realisation, that I was far, far, far too tied to my phone. Like completely addicted to it. Was it ever out of my hand? Was there anything I didn’t use it for? It was my jukebox, my watch, on occasion my TV, a handheld games console, my communication portal to everyone I know…and seriously, how many different ways are there for people to communicate with me? I have three email addresses, I can be contacted by text, whatsapp, twitter, facebook…my life was basically being run through a 3 and half by 5 inch tiny computer.
So I went out. I took my boys and I went out for the afternoon. We laughed, we had fun, I ignored the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and the faint sensation of having forgotten something I couldn’t quite put my finger on…and it was good, you know? As long as you discount the phantom vibration sensations from my pocket, like an amputee who feels an itch from fingers that are no longer there. But it was genuinely kind of liberating to be cut off from my various digital ties, if only for a few hours. I concentrated on my sons, had fun, and didn’t check the time once.
And it made me think of all the moaning I had done about being phoneless (for a whopping 28 hours, as it turned out), and reminded me not to be so damn stupid in future.
Mobile phone not working for a while? No big deal, enjoy the peace.
Laptop runs out of battery on the train? Close your eyes for a while and chill out.
Programme fails to record on your digibox? Screw it, read a book for half an hour instead (I know three I could recommend highly), the damn thing will be on again sometime.
Long story short, maybe it would do us all good to switch our screens off once in a while, remember what it was like to live without the digital world at our fingertips.
Having said that, my new phone arrived this morning and I breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief, good to feel that pocket vibrating again. But I might just switch it off for the day again sometime soon…
As always, and no matter what device you’re reading this on, Stay Frosty, People.