Thursday, November 17, 2011

phoneless and phreaking out

"You know, if you keep making those faces, eventually your face is going to stick like that."

That's what they tell me, anyway. I'm not sure if I believe it since I made a sour face for the first 20 years of my life and I seem to be recovering nicely.

However, I do see some truth to the statement. It's about habits.

If you keep doing something long enough for it to become a habit, eventually you will stick like that. This is true for the good things, like exercise or spending time with your family, and true for the bad things, like drinking too much or gambling away your savings.

But what about the in-between things? What about the habits we pick up that are widely sanctioned by our society?

There's something that I'm obsessed with. Something that I have to have with me at all times of the day. I take it with me when I go to sleep, when I go to work, when I'm in my car. I tend it like an obsessives' garden, making sure everything is in its' place, checking and rechecking. If I don't pick it up at least once every 20 minutes, I start to feel jittery. Others encourage me, asking where it is if they don't see it with me, proudly showing me theirs like brand new parents.

I'm talking about something I've started to take for granted over the past few years: my electronic tether; my cellphone.

By a gross miscalculation in timelines, I managed to shut off my own phone today while porting my number to a new carrier. I have no idea when I will have a working phone again. Note to my future self: next time make sure you have your new phone before turning off your existing phone.

What's most disturbing about this situation is not that I managed to misplan, I'm human after all. No, what's bothersome here is the way I'm reacting to my disconnect.

Whenever my mind starts to wander, I catch myself poking at the dead shell of my old phone. I turn it on and stare at its shiny screen, glancing to the top right for the tiny letter icon to tell me I have a message, hoping to see the little "G" symbol that means I have new Gmail. I might as well be curled up in a corner rocking back and forth while talking to myself.

When did this happen? I remember growing up without a phone, being a teenager who had to use landlines to call home and leave a message on the answering machine (the kind with the tiny tape inside). Heck, I didn't even have a cellphone until my junior year of college. Yeah that's right, I managed to survive until the age of 20 without sending a single text message. Amazing, huh?

But now? No fricking way! I've only been without the phone for a few hours and I've already lost my sh*t. If it wasn't for the fact that I still have the old phone to cradle softly in my arms, I'd probably be starting a fire or something. Like this girl who literally killed when her phone was taken (click to read the article).

I read an article a few weeks back that said that people reacted the same way to loosing their iphone as they did to loosing a loved one. As in, the same area in your brain that lights up when you are in mourning lights up when they turn off your phone. It's a creepy little member of your family. And now, with the Siri technology, it's even got a sweet lady voice to further your attachment (as if you needed it).

I'm sure I'll make it through this troubling time, not in any small part due to the fact that I still have the internet with access to Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all the other millions of internet locations that eat my time.

Thank goodness I have this virtual world in which to live, where else would I go for support? Real people?

Don't be silly.


Greg said...

I totally feel wierd when I don't have my phone...even more than normal.

~ selina ~ said...

LOL, "I feel weird more than normal" sums it up exactly.