Friday, November 4, 2011

Like it's 2001...

...and I don't have a cell phone.

This week I left my cell phone at a location 1.5 hours away by car, 2.5 hours away by train. Needless to say, once I left it and came back into the city, I left it. Although I do love my new phone, I don't need to travel that far to rescue it. Of course, I knew I could live without out. (It also helped that I knew I could get it back two days later).

So, for this week, I spent (and am still spending) 48+ hours without a cell phone. Really, it hasn't been the disastrous experience I always thought it would be. Recently, I've been feeling like I am drowning in a sea of electronics from which I can't escape, and in reality I don't want to escape. So while this was an unplanned cell phone hiatus, it wasn't necessarily unwelcome.

When I do have my phone I spent a large, large portion of the day using it. On my commute,  it helps the time go faster, whether I'm playing my games, texting, checking the bus times, the weather, my email, Facebook, etc. At work, I check the same things. When I walk to lunch, I can't be without my phone lest I get bored. So I unlock my phone to check for updates. Over and over and over and over.

Does anything ever change? Usually not. And if it does, isn't that why we have notifications? So I can go along my regular life trusting that I'll be notified if something needs my attention. (Hmmm... I just made the connection to a bigger problem in my life, but I'll devote a different post to that). I have anxiety that I'll miss something when I have my phone, because since I have it, there's no reason I should miss it.

I was free from that the past 48 hours. Sure, I had a computer at work all day/as soon as I got home, from which I can send/receive messages. But when I left work yesterday and was running late to meet a friend, partly because I wasn't exactly sure where I was going, I thought "how did people get along before a phone?" Without the maps function, google to make sure I knew where the place was, bus tracker to see how long I'd be in the cold, texting to inform someone I'd be late, etc.

But you know what? I survived. And I enjoyed my commute, for once. I watched people, actually read my kindle (which I haven't done since I got my 4S...too many games!), engaged in conversations with more than one person, and didn't worry about work until I got there. Sure, this experience wasn't the end of the world and I'll be glad to check on the progress of the dragons I'm breeding as well as my virtual cats Mitten and Tomcat...(TMI? too bad), but I definitely learned something from it.

Sometimes I just need a seemingly-tragic experience (being without a phone for a few days) to be reminded that it's not the end of the world and I will survive and that I don't have to be drowning in electronics. Ultimately, it's my choice how much time I spend on my phone. I'm thinking of setting some electronics-time rules for myself, to take this lesson and extend it beyond the 48 hours I had to survive because I had no other choice. Any suggestions?

And I leave you with this because I found it in my searches for images and I think it's hilarious:


Martyn Wendell said...

I haven't had a cellphone for a month and a half now and I kind of love it. Well, I love it except for not being able to contact someone when I'm running late to meet them, or am lost. But other than that, I've enjoyed it. It's actually possible now to leave the apartment and really be gone ...

ashley elizabeth said...

Haha, I know, and you're even in a foreign country! You're right, it's nice just to be absent and realize everything will be okay until you get back.

Victoria said...

Haha I have to call you out on the fact that its NOT normal to have virtual pets...not unless you're 9 years old. Maybe you could cut back on the virtual reality when you get you phone back