So on Wednesday night as I was cuddling and watching The Good Wife, I was attempting to text my friend to tell her that Magic Mike was really quite excellent (note for anyone who’s curious – Magic Mike was really quite excellent) and every time I tried to go into her texting thread the screen went weird and started getting brighter and brighter…. I backed out and tried another thread and this didn’t seem to happen. I removed my texting program and reinstalled it. This time every time I went into any thread and opened my phone to my keyboard (yes, I refuse to have any phone with touchscreen only, I find typing on them awful) the same thing happened. Then suddenly it wouldn’t stop and then it fuzzed and then there were five or six white lines on black on my screen and then… nothing. So that’s the story of how my phone died and it was fairly traumatic. Poor phone. It was particularly odd as I had done nothing to it, no water, it hadn’t been dropped, I was just sitting there attempting to text. Sigh.
Some of you may not know that I really love my phone. I mean, not the specific model of phone? I am not one of those people who must have the latest one or anything, but just having a data device on me at pretty much all times is very important to me. Yesterday my amazing friend who is the account holder on my account figured everything out and a new phone was shipping to me, set to arrive by today. However. That left me with quite a bit of time without a phone.
I know that there are a number of people who are very concerned about the downfall of civilization happening while we are all busy staring at the tiny screens in our hand, not noticing because we’re busy texting our friends about Magic Mike. I am not interested in arguing that point because I find it obnoxious and boring and pointless. What I found interesting was what I realized having a phone has given me, which is a great deal more freedom.
This may come as a shock to everyone but I am a fairly anxious person. I spent a good part of my growing up afraid of things happening to me, I spent a lot of my life never doing much of anything. I was always extremely nervous to drive places I didn’t know. Stepping out of my comfort zone has, until not too long ago, been a challenge for me. I’m not going to say that my cell phone is what made me do that but I am going to say that having my cell phone has allowed me to do it a lot more bravely. Some of the reasons are practical. For example, I am essentially never nervous about driving someplace I don’t know anymore because I’m not worried about getting lost. I have GPS in my hand, I know I can find where I need to be. That may not sound like a big deal but it has revolutionized my life. It also means that I am less neurotic about planning. When I went to go pick David up from work the other day and did not have my phone, I was very freaked out. I had to go steal wifi from Starbucks so I could send him an email telling him I was going to be late and then I spent the entire time freaked out because what if he didn’t get it, what if someone else had taken him home, what if we missed each other somehow, how would he get in touch with me, what would we do? This is not actually a crisis situation but it is the sort of stupid thing that sends me into a ridiculous panic mode because things are not planned and set like they need to be. I’m able to be more flexible when I know that I will know as soon as the plans change, when I know I won’t be left out of the loop.
But there is another and more important way that my phone makes me braver – it means I am connected to the people who make me feel safe. If I am going on an internet date, no matter how sketchy or safe, at least David and Julie definitely know where I am. I am probably actively messaging them right before I meet the person and, depending on how badly the date goes, possibly during. I know that if I need someone I can make a call. It’s not so much about knowing I can call 911, although there is a certain amount of comfort in that as well. It is primarily about knowing that the people who make me feel safe are in some way right there with me. That makes me feel like I can do more, like I can take more chances and be bolder. I’m not sure I can explain what that means in my life or how much better it makes me feel about so many things.
I feel like we spend a lot of time talking about the evils of technology and it’s a conversation I tend to have little patience for. After two days “disconnected” I wanted to throw in my two cents in not about how nice it was to smell flowers or see children playing or whatever people claim to see but about how much better my life is because of my technology. I am very, very grateful.