What a Crutch

I’ve spent the last two, almost three, full days, cell phone free. My phone and I parted ways on Chicago Ave while riding my bike to work. She decided to commit suicide by jumping. The road is in the process of being paved, my phone and I had been stuck at the hip for over a year and I think she was feeling suffocated. She went for the plunge somewhere between Larabee and Orleans, I imagine, she held her breath and took the leap she had longed for.
When I arrived at work and realized she was gone I went searching, calling and leaving messages–wondering if she was alone, cold and scared, or perhaps happy to be out of the confines of my pocket and purse. She grew wings when I wasn’t looking and needed the independence.

Day 1:
The phantom vibrations were unbearable. I kept grabbing my seat pocket thinking I was receiving a text or Facebook notification. I wanted to check the weather, check the time, check my work schedule… I couldn’t. I suppose I have a watch, I could look out the window, and I could ask someone else about work. All day at work I wanted to update my status to tell people I had lost my phone… but I couldn’t. I worried about who was texting me, would they be mad at the lack of response? What if there was an emergency?
The ride home I was at a stop light and wanted to snap a photo for InstaGram but my camera was at home and my cell phone was living the life she always wanted. When I arrived home and needed to get in touch with people about plans tomorrow I used Facebook and email, that sufficed and got me through the night. No alarms needed to be set, at least I could depend on my inner clock to take care of waking me on time.

Day 2:
The vibrations lessened, I remembered why I bought a watch, and I wasn’t so concerned about the SnapChaps from across the world I was missing out on. When I left my house I wasn’t able to track the CTA but instead relied on knowing another bus would be there promptly if I miss the first one. As I sat on the bus I started to noticed people. I watched and observed the behavior and lack of interaction we have with one another because of technology. The young professional across from me reading on her I-pad. The teenagers texting. The older guy listening to music with his eyes closed, completely unaware of his surroundings.
I locked eyes with an elderly woman and smiled. She was sitting, like me, with an open book in her hands not reading. We were appreciating our surroundings and soaking in all of what Chicago people watching has to offer.

Day 3: (Today)
My new phone arrived today and I just picked her up. I opened the box and she feels familiar and comfortable in my hand–still asleep and so peaceful she’s slumbering the box she arrived in. I spent the day shopping, working out, walking and visiting with a girlfriend. She on her phone for part of it, me driving or observing the stores and the people walking by.
I just got home from our day and made a cup of tea, checking email and facebook and have yet to wake the new phone from her dreams. These few days remind of when I was far away traveling, no one knowing where I was or what I was doing, no texts to answer, no emails to read on the spot, no facebook messages that I don’t want to reply to–just me, me in my head answering to no one.

I think I’ll spend another hour or so hanging out with myself, reading, writing, drinking my tea before I wake her and plug my life back into such a serious relationship. It’s been a trying couple of days, I won’t say that I didn’t get lost and wish I had an electronic map in my pocket, a bus schedule and my best friends phone number–I wanted all those things more than once. But this little break has taught me to be more dependent on myself, not wishing ‘he’ would text, (well, maybe a little… maybe just wondering WHO had texted and not gotten a response.)

Take a break from your devises. Do some real people watching when you’re on public transportation or the coffee shop. Rely on intuition rather than Google Maps. Write your thoughts down in a Moleskine journal rather than updating your facebook status or tweeting to your 143 followers. Say hi to that dude sitting on the bus, ask him what he’s listening to or reading. Keep your phone locked up in your pocket a little longer rather that using it as a crutch to avoid eye contact.

Break it off for a moment or two and see how you feel.

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