Missing, and Not Missing my iPhone
I am an iPhone man despite the fact that every goddamn, motherfucking piece of technology Apple has sold me has broken, and broken quickly. For example, pretty much every iPhone I purchase begins having trouble charging almost instantly. I have to jimmy it in just so to even get a charge, and by jamming it in, I’m further fucking up whatever delicate mechanism allows the phone to charge in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle that results in me needing to buy a new phone on a regular basis, yearly, if not more often.
Much of my life consequently consists of a race against time as I try to get everything I need accomplished out of my iPhone before its battery dies or it stops charging altogether and needs to be replaced. At the Gathering of the Juggalos, for example, part of my brain was always devoted to ensuring that my phone did not die on the grounds, stranding me at the campground with no clear way of getting back to my motel.
Earlier this week my iPhone stopped charging altogether. I tried and tried and tried to get the damn thing to charge, feeling like one of Cinderella's ugly step-sisters trying to finagle her foot into the glass slipper before I finally gave up and figured I would need to buy a refurbished or lightly used phone because this baby was never coming back to life.
Not having access to my phone has profoundly changed the way I lead my life and work. My attention span is much longer, because I am not constantly distracted by the cyber-siren song of Twitter and Facebook. Without my phone I can’t post to social media. Just as important, I cannot check Facebook or Twitter to see how individual posts or links are doing. If I see something that strike me as funny, I can’t photograph it, and then post it to Twitter or Facebook either.
So instead of compulsively reading tweets or Facebook posts that do nothing but angry up the blood or distract me from what’s important in life (family, work, my dog) I find myself reading actual books that teach me something about the way the world works, or movies. It’s rare, if ever, that I read a Facebook post or Tweet that improves my life or adds anything to my base of knowledge of frame of reference, yet I almost never regret reading a book or watching a movie, no matter how bad. That includes Monster Trucks.
I’m able to be more present for Declan and my wife as well. Instead of the phone constantly pulling my attention away from my family and my work and towards bullshit that doesn’t matter, I’m able to live in the present tense and really notice elements of the world I’m usually too distracted to pay attention to.
Being without one of my beloved Apple products has forced me to think differently.
Yes, in many ways not having access to my phone, and by extension, social media and the internet and all the craziness that goes along with it, has improved my life and made me a more patient, adult, present and mature human being.
Jesus fucking Christ, I can’t wait to get a new phone.
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