iPhoneless for Ten Hours: My Survival Story
The moment I realized I forgot my iPhone at home, I thought I was going to have a panic attack. How was I going to do anything? How was I going to breathe? But most of all… how was I going to check my Instagram?
For a second I debated going back home to get my phone. But, I was already at the train station, and the train was scheduled to arrive in two minutes. There was no way in hell I would be able to run the four blocks back to my house and then back to the station without missing my train. (This was a moment when I realized jetpacks would be very useful.) I sucked it up and got on the train. iPhoneless. I, a self-proclaimed cell phone addict, was facing digital death.
My twenty-five minute ride to New York City was riddled with anxiety. How many texts had I missed? What if there was an extreme emergency and some long lost cousin of mine was trying to reach me? I glanced around and jealously glared at all the happy commuters, mindlessly texting or watching away on their smartphones. My hands started to feel a bit itchy. With nothing else to do, I closed my eyes and napped. When I got to New York and was heading downtown on the subway, I had nothing to help me block out the muddled sounds and frenzied conversations that make up the busy hum of rush-hour commuter foot traffic.
The first hour at work was normal. I ate my breakfast. Checked my email. Made my to-do list for the day. And then I reached for my phone. Only to find nothing. Another brief panic attack overcame me. Oh no, I thought. I’m probably getting Snapchats from Olivia Pope about urgent information that I won’t be able to respond to. Feeling defeated, I started on some research I was working on. For the next few hours, I channeled my frustrated and angst for my forgotten cell phone into this work document that I would be presenting later in the day.
By lunchtime, I felt a little better. I was halfway there. Normally, this is when I do a full phone haul and respond to notifications that I hadn’t responded to during the day. I ate my lunch. Could others tell I was going through a digital separation? I can do it, I told myself. I can make until the end of the day.
The next few hours flew by so quickly. I was so focused on my work that I didn’t realize it was 5:30 and time to leave. My train ride home was calm. I did something I don’t normally do and took the time to admire the scenery, looking out the glass windows as the sun slowly faded into the horizon. I noticed I was alone in doing this. Mostly everyone else was too engulfed in their digital devices.
As soon as I stepped off the train, the panic hit me again. I don’t think I ever walked home so fast in my life. Some guy tried to hit on me and I gave him a huge smile. He thought I was happy he called me beautiful, but I was really happy that I was only now one block from my house. As I got home, I ran up the stairs to my bedroom to retrieve my beloved child, mi bonita, mi preciosa, my iPhone 5. I hurriedly unlocked it and was shocked:
Nobody cared about me that much.
Although I thought people would be trying to hit me up, I only had one text message and a few Instagram notifications. No phone call from my long lost cousin. No urgent message from Olivia Pope. Nothing interesting. I whined for a little bit, but then it hit me.
Why was I so obsessed with a little 4 inch device that, at the end of the day, wasn’t really that important. It’s just a thing that gives me pleasure but doesn’t really give my life more importance. Why had I made such a big deal that I was phoneless for ten hours?
I’ll admit. It was sorta nice not having a phone. I wasn’t distracted. I was able to focus more at work. I was forced to observe the people and things around me on my commute. I actually was living through me and not through a mobile device. Ten hours without my iphone didn’t turn out to be digital death. Those ten hours were a must needed digital vacation that brought clarity and forced me to self- regulate my anxiety and participate in rational thinking. Also, knowing that my phone was somewhere that I could get it later was also comforting. Now, if my iphone had been stolen for ten hours… I don’t even want to think about that one.
Have you even been iPhoneless (or phoneless) for a day? Share your stories below.