Today I forgot my phone at home. We were half way to town when I realized it. The Mister offered to go back for it but I was already late for work so I told him to keep on going.
I reached for it six times before he ever pulled up in the parking lot at student health. “Call me on the office phone if you need me.” I instructed him and as he drove away I could feel the stirring of a wee bit of anxiety in my chest as I surveyed the prospects of a long day with no phone.
What happened instead was one of the most peaceful, focused and productive days I have had in a long time. Let’s be honest, I am not that essential to the welfare of mankind that one day without a cell phone caused a huge tilt in the earth’s axis. Strangely, I found that I listened attentively in my morning meeting and what’s more, I noticed the sheer rudeness of people around me who completely zoned out on their phones while the speaker did all but stand on her head to keep their attention. It did not occur to me, that had I remembered my phone I would probably have been checking emails as furiously as everyone else.
As I watched everyone around me engrossed in their phones it reminded me of a avacado green phone with a rotary dial that hung on the wall in my mama’s kitchen. If you wanted a private phone conversation you walked down the hall dragging that coiled green cord behind you, locked yourself in the bathroom and turned on the faucet to drown out your words while you talked to your BFF while perched on the side of the tub. There were four girls and one phone when I grew up. There was a timer that no one paid attention to. Do you remember how infuriating it was to call and get an endless busy signal because your friend’s mom was gossiping for hours with the neighbor?
I remember prank calls like “Is your washing machine running? Well you better go catch it.” . This was delivered to a random number from the phone book. We would slam the receiver down as we laughed. That was long before caller ID and a fun way to spend a summer afternoon until we got caught and punished.
Before cell phone my brave parents allowed us to go out on a Friday night and had no way of knowing where we were. They were forced to believe we were “bowling”, when only by Gods grace did we survive our teenage foolishness. Truth be told, I think my childhood was a whole lot more fun without having Snapchat.
I miss those days. Don’t get me wrong. I love my cell phone and made a beeline for it as soon as we walked in the door. 16 missed text! But I loved the freedom of not being attached to a phone today. I love having social media at my finger tips and I hate it too. I love that I can FaceTime my grandsweetie but I hate the distraction of texts through the workday.
I just finished reading this book by Tony Reinke: “12 Ways Your Smartphone Is Changing You”. It is a complete review of my mixed feelings. I highly recommend you read it whether or not you think you are addicted to your smartphone.
And don’t worry, I already placed my cell phone inside my work bag for tomorrow.