I lost my phone for 14 hours and I can honestly say it was a serene, almost spa-like, experience. It didn’t start out that way, but in the end, I give being phone-free two enthusiastic texting thumbs up.
My story begins on a frigid winter morning where the ice on your car windshield is thick and the heated seats inside your vehicle can’t get hot fast enough.
I left my house for work in a harried, mild panic. The only way I wasn’t going to be late for my job is if I nixed my morning McDonald’s Diet Coke run. Of course, Diet Coke prevailed.
As I was sitting in the drive-thru I was horrified to discover I was phone-less. I looked in my purse, in-between the seats and even under but, alas, no phone.
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It wasn’t even 8 o’clock in the morning yet, and I was faced with my second choice of the day. Go home and get my phone, thus ensuring a very tardy arrival to the office, or go where I hadn’t been since 2003 — untethered to a mobile communication device.
I weighed the pros and cons, primarily, what would my family do if I wasn’t responding to their texts or phone calls? Would they get concerned or even scared if I wasn’t sending them multiple kissy face, the OK sign, and winky emoji’s during the day?
I took a deep breath and made the hard decision that, yes, they would survive. I wasn’t going home to get my phone. I was going solo.
The first thing I did when I got to work was look up my husband’s office phone number. I had never memorized his cell which means, of course, I sure didn’t know his office digits. I then did something that seemed awkward and foreign. I used a land line. I had forgotten how it felt to cradle a phone in your neck while you dialed.
When I called my husband, of course, he didn’t answer. So, I left a message that I would be phoneless all day and to text the kids that if they had an emergency (and, by that, I mean they needed money) that he would be their go-to, not me.
At the beginning, it was as if I had lost an appendage. I found myself reaching for my phone every few minutes. I would think, ‘Oh, I need to check a text’ or I would want to go to one of my apps. It took at least an hour for it to register in my brain that my phone wasn’t with me.
By lunchtime, though, things had changed. I noticed I was getting at ton done at work. I had almost zero distractions and I felt like had a laser focus.
At 4 p.m. I was giddy from being less weighed down with the tedium of everyone else’s existence. I didn’t know what was happening in the world nor did I get to experience the time suck of social media.
It was glorious. So much so that, when I was reunited with my phone, it made me sad and I realized that, for all the wonder of having a palm-sized computer with you 24/7, there’s a trade off. It’s freedom.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.