Me and My Phone

I just came back from a trip to New York, where I realized a few things.

  1. I now know there's a bulldog in this world who I adore.

  2. New York bagels are the best.

  3. If I'm frustrated, it's best if I make up a quick song and sing it half under my breath a million times until I'm cheered up again.

  4. I rely too much on my phone.

For today's post, I'm going to focus on Item #4, although I may revisit #3 next week. So here's the deal. As a writer, a cellphone can be incredibly useful. You can make notes on it while you're out in the world. You can read books on it. You can listen to books. You can store your manuscript there. In short, a phone can be an incredibly valuable tool to use.

But then it happens. For me it was on the first flight of a two-flight day on my return home from New York. I was reading a book when my phone started, let's say, freaking out, because that's how it seemed to me. It wasn't a mild technical hiccup. This was a flat-out technological demonic possession, complete with pages flipping and apps launching and me holding my phone by my fingertips thinking, “But you can't do this to me! I never carry books with me anymore!”

When it first started, I tried to turn it off. I thought that maybe I could just reboot the crazy out of it. But it would not let me. I would get to the screen where I needed to swipe to turn it off, and the phone would do nothing. It was crazy. But what was more insane was, after that occurred, every moment or so, I would pick up my phone to see if the results this time would be different.

It made me realize some things:

  1. Phones are expensive. I've had this phone for twelve years. I took it for granted. I never thought about replacing it. I never imagined how much they now cost.

  2. I knew that I spent a lot of time on my phone. But I'd never felt it before. How in a moment of anxiety or boredom, what I do is pick up my phone and look at something. From that plane ride until I got home, I didn't have my phone. At first, I felt panic. Then I reached in my purse, picked up a notebook and a pen and started brainstorming for a new writing project. Once I figured that out, I felt content again.

UPDATE: When we returned home, I chatted with an Apple rep, and ended up backing up my phone and restoring it. So far, so good. Fingers crossed. But something has changed. I'm no longer so cavalier about my phone. I see it as delicate, vulnerable. And I don't want to rely on it as my favorite tool anymore. I want to let it rest. We'll see how it goes.