No phone no problem??

I was excited when I gave Maria my phone for 2 days. I’ve always felt kind of anxious and skeptical of phones and how they impact my life, which is probably why I don’t have a smart phone. Some people use phones in really interesting and strange ways, which I appreciate, but I’ve never been able to adopt that method, and instead I’ve found that phones tend to just stress me out a lot. I don’t like being constantly reachable, and I don’t like the way texting quantifies communication into time slots and single words. The tools that most people use on their phones (calendar, music, email ect.) I just use on my computer, so it’s not like I am totally disconnected from the benefits of a cellphone, but I don’t need them in my pocket (just in my backpack). Just to be clear, I think phones are amazing and so great for so many people, just not for me, not trying to be judgmental…

So I was excited when I got rid of my phone because it meant just having a few days respite from some of the things that bother me about my phone. And that’s mostly what happened. Practicality-wise, I had use my computer as an alarm clock which was a little complicated since I couldn’t close it as I slept or else it wouldn’t go off. But I just turned the brightness off and faced it away from me, no big deal. I also had this strange occasional sensation that I had lost my phone and would open my bag to look for it before remembering I didn’t have it. But overall it was nice, I felt more independent and less distracted and had a productive few days.

The hard part came when I got my phone back. I kinda didn’t want to turn it on. I didn’t want to have to read through the messages that I missed and apologize to people for not being immediately reachable when they wanted me. Not having a phone for those days was a nice excuse to do exactly what I wanted to do and not worry about pleasing other people. Now that I have my phone back, I’m having a hard time adjusting to being back in this weird communication zone that has a lot of baggage. I didn’t actually turn it back on and charge it until like 10 minutes ago, more than 24 hours after it was returned to me.

I guess what this assignment did for me was highlight that I need to make a change to the way I use my phone to interact with people. I don’t think having a phone is a bad thing at all. In fact, on Wednesday night I was driving late at night on a rural road and realized that if I had a car accident I would have no way of reaching help and I wasn’t even sure where the closest house was. Thats an indisputable benefit I don’t want to live without. What I’m saying is, I don’t think it’s the phone itself that is inherently evil, but rather that my relationship to it needs to change. I turned my phone on tonight and made plans to go see friends, which I am happy about. But I do wish I had done more reading before I left…

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