The tyranny of the phone keeps me restrained with all the stuff I think I need. Like the diary, social media, GPS, the internet, an app for everything. It’s like having the perfect friend that takes care of my every need. How can I work or travel or stay in touch without it and it won’t let me go without a fight. It just keeps promising more apps, more games, more stuff to keep me hooked. As if it took over a small part of my brain without asking by promising me the world.
The phone dealers have the perfect product better than booze or crack or dope or TV and they sell it to children and adults alike. It links us to the world better than the meagre senses I was born with. I got a taste for one back before the smart phones. Just a simple text mind you and it felt good to send that text because I could send a message without having a conversion, then came the smart phones and then I got a few likes on my social media and that felt good. Jobs promised everything and I got one, thinking I owned the phone but it owns me now and I’m completely hooked like everyone else. I think it might be time to let go or at least take a break every now and then. It might be the healthy thing to do. What could go wrong?
I left mine behind today when I walked to the shops to check the mail and it felt like I was leaving a part of myself behind. I was worried something disastrous would happen if I didn’t take it along. The separation anxiety was real. I was like a junkie trying to kick the habit and thinking of excuses for another fix. ‘One little taste won’t hurt.’ I imagined how bad life would be without it.
But I didn’t give in and left for the shops and as I walked along I felt a longing to have it with me. I felt like I wasn’t fully dressed or I’d forgotten to wear pants or something. I wondered who I’d miss, who I could have called. I was anxious that I would miss something. That life for that brief time wouldn’t be as good. I kept going and in no time I had forgotten about it sitting at home on the dresser and the withdrawals didn’t last long as I began to focus on the street and the trees and the people around me.
I’d left it behind despite the anxiety, despite the excuses and all the reasons to take it along. I’d taken those first few steps on my own. I saw others with theirs crossing the street but they didn’t see me. Looking into their screens, oblivious to the traffic and everyone else. It felt good. There was no weight in my pocket, no concern for social media, for that brief time I was free. Disconnected with the phone but connected with my surroundings.
I’m a phone addict of course, it has me hooked and going cold turkey could be unbearable. Right? How would I cope? My social life would be worse that during a covid lockdown. I’d be an outcast, a dunce. The phone stays with me night and day. It sits at my bedside waiting for me to pick it up in the morning. It reminds me when to sleep and when to wake up.
What would happen if I got rid of it? Would my wife leave me? Would my friends give up on me? Would I get fired. Would the sky fall? Perhaps it would all come crashing down?
Yet we give these to kids.