The smartphone craze hit me rather late in life. My friends can testify to that fact. The day I was gifted an iPhone was momentous, filled with warm congratulations and a feeling of inclusivity as they each welcomed me to the “Smartphone Club.”
Before I knew it, the world was suddenly handed to me on a silver platter. I instantly felt bad for my hot pink flip phone; it had loyally stuck by my side for months, offering me reliable service and predictability – much like the boyfriend you deem “husband material.”
Yet, I was quick to abandon it for something newer, shiner, and capable of providing me instant access to email. Soon, it became routine for me to reach for my phone the first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and in several circumstances – before, after and during nighttime bathroom trips. Despite adamant protests from my bladder at 3am, I always managed to find the strength and mental determination to hold on a second longer just to check my Facebook.
I’ve even been called out twice for my addiction: once while at a reunion (I’m not proud of it), and another at my boyfriend’s birthday party (now, ex – really not proud). Both instances, I was told to put down my phone.
And while I’m at it, I might as well admit that I cried the day my phone was stolen. I remember the wave of panicked frenzy I felt when I realized the phone wasn’t anywhere near my vicinity. I desperately ruffled through my bag. I obsessively dialed my own number. I searched and re-searched the same pockets, convinced that if I tried again, the phone would magically appear. The initial shock, although intense, was eventually replaced by an overwhelming feeling of dread and a reluctant acceptance that I would now have to print directions ahead of time. No more Google Maps.
This was months ago – but my reaction to the situation was certainly a wake up call. Crying at a funeral or even during a movie – that’s normal. But over a phone?
Now, a lot of people claim that we’ve become too reliant on technology – and for the most part, I agree. After all, I’ve experienced withdrawal symptoms when I had to switch back to my hot pink flip.
Fortunately, it’s not all bad.
Once, on my way to work, I noticed some words scribbled on the sidewalk, “Look up! Not at your phone!”
At the time, I smirked at the ingeniousness of the note’s placement. But in hindsight, the message is slightly contradictory. I mean, is it really such a bad thing to look at the floor? As a frequent down-headed walker, I’d like to argue the opposite. In fact, if I were constantly looking up, I would’ve definitely missed this simple, amusing note, as well as the animal footprints I once saw imprinted in cement.
I would have ignored the multi-colored rocks on the beach and the leaf I found on the floor of a park – although “leaf” is a generous term. Rather, it was what was leftover of a leaf: a delicate system of veins, connected by a stem (the aftermath of several hundred hungry insects simultaneously feasting).
I’ve come to notice all these things only because of technology. How so? Instagram. What I miss the most about my phone is the outlet it provided me to share what I saw with the world. A busy day at work will drain the life from me, and consequently, I may miss an incredible sunset or two. But the portability and instantaneous nature of today’s technology permitted me to actively seek out the slight nuances of the world I would miss otherwise – from its variations in colors and textures, to its entire views. It even became a hobby for me; I was eager to discover new, incredible places, and showcase them to my friends (even if just for likes).
So to everyone who has told me to put my phone down, or to look up, and especially to my complaining ex-boyfriend – I’m sorry, but I need to update my followers.