Most of you know and likely loathe the panicked knee-jerk reaction we experience when you realize you left your phone at home. It's a special kind of insanity that you can't even name. What is happening in the world? Is the world even still there? What if I won that radio contest from 2006 and they'e calling me right now? What if Beyoncé happened to dial a wrong number and IT WAS MINE?! The struggle is so real that it is beyond realness.
I recently went on a remote writing retreat in the mountains with some friends. I proposed a social media diet, a concerted effort to start thinning the tether we voluntarily knotted to our phones. Shocking no one, I was alone in this exercise. Although — not to brag — I did remarkably well leaving my phone laying away and flipped over on a faraway countertop most of the weekend, I know this isn't normal. I was set in an unfamiliar space without a lot of responsibility (or service, admittedly). During a routine day on the home turf, once separated from our mobile devices, we don't tend to react in as zen of a way as we might wish (or predict, even). We have adapted into creatures with frequent, open, and easy communication with other little tech-obsessed creatures. It connects us, yes, regardless of all its health-threatening nuances — phones are patently useful and arguably necessary in order to properly function. As a result, we have some questionably legit concerns when we leave our phones home:
What If Someone Gets Hurt?
Ask yourself seriously: are you any one or number of people's in-case-of-emergency contact? Probably not. And if you are, likely they have a backup contact who will work just the same. Assuming you're not going to be away from home for longer than eight hours, this probably isn't a 911 scenario. While we're at it, though, now might be a good time to check in with loved ones and see if you are in fact anyone's in-case-of-emergency contact.
Someone Could Be Robbing My Home Or Setting It On Fire THIS VERY MOMENT
This is possible, yes. But if that's true, you're screwed whether or not you have your phone on your person. I guess, though, if it's home and that same home is blazing or in the process of being looted, then it's one more possession lost in that wake. Sorry?
NOOO, I HAVE TO USE MY BRAIN AND MEMORY TO ANSWER A QUESTION
In my phone's Safari window, I have open, in this moment, the following tabs: the Wikipedia page for elote, search results for "two-letter and three-letter Scrabble words," a list of nearby state parks, the contact info for my dentist, images of Devon Sawa as a teen heartthrob, an analysis on Aaliyah's death, local Craigslist posts for adoptable goats, and ... seriously? Most of that information I could have summoned with pure brain waves — save the adoptable goats because I'm no farmyard psychic (sadly). It's easy to panic when we have to use mental energy as we are not usually tasked to complete such treachery.
Do I Need This Sweater??
Like our brains, our skin forgets how to function without technological direction or dictation. Seriously, y'all? Step outside your office to see if it's raining. Should still work.
How Is My Instagram Post From Earlier Doing?
Confession: I have — ONCE OR TWICE — deleted Instagram posts skating beneath the 11 like count. It's weird to see everyone's names underneath! Like a sad consolation. "WE tolerate you, Beca! WE get your art/humor/copious cat photos!" Outside of proper reach, it's impossible to monitor such important figures and therefore secure a non-thirsty web presence. This is almost certainly an insane habit you/I should consider quitting. (Unless it was an obviously drunk post. Delete all obviously drunk posts.)
I'm Gonna Get Lost And Die
You might be hopelessly stationary without quick access to your HopStop app, but it's time you trust your own sense of direction. Or ... plan to go on an adventure. Or ask someone about an easy route (or don't, because you don't know that person's life/motives). Either way. Let the heavens decide.
I Super Hope My S.O. Doesn't Creep On It
Yeah? Unless you're a garbage person, this shouldn't be such an anxiety-spiking idea. Probably try to have less of a despicable existence so there'd be less "dirt" theoretically available to find. Also, if you're with a trustworthy person, they're not likely to peek anyway. Conversely, if you're a loose canon/single person...
I Bet I'm Getting So Many Smokin' Tinder Matches
You could be! But do you need real-time updates? I mean, the tiny dopamine rush of a match alert is a fairly dope post-lunch pick-me-up, it isn't entirely vital you know right away. Besides, isn't dating just an intense, unspoken competition in judging who can be more aloof? Honestly, this oversight of your phone this morning might give you a leg up in that regard.
How Do I Pass Idle Time?!
Reading shampoo bottles, obviously.
I'm Probably Missing A Huge Professional Opportunity Because I'm An Enormous Idiothead Who Leaves Their Phone At Home
Although a bulk of professional people have email on their phones and therefore are theoretically able to respond to messages in a timely manner, that isn't everyone. There are some people who do that work-balance thing I've heard of, keeping it outside broad assumption plain. Any person professional enough to offer you a shot at doing something very dope in your field will probably understand any relatively short lag in response, especially when paired with an explanation.
Guuuh, Now I Have To Use Actual Words To Describe Something Instead Of Showing A Photo
Surely Now I Will Be Excommunicated From All Social Circles Since I Cannot Contribute To The Group Texts
Well...maybe. But y'know, good riddance because group texts can burn in Hell.
WHAT IF I SEE SOMETHING CUTE/HILARIOUS/WEIRD AND HAVE NO WAY TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION?
You will explode. Sorry.
Images: Pexels; Giphy(12)