What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and found that your phone had stopped working? You might have left it on the roof of your car when you drove off and it smashed in the street, or perhaps you dropped it in the toilet; the point is, your phone has become an expensive paperweight. I found myself in one of these very situations recently, thanks to alcohol, slippery hands and an open commode.
I did not realize how attached I was to my phone nor how much I depended on it to get through my day. My first problem was that I did not have an alternate phone. I haven’t had a landline in years and there are no pay phones anywhere these days unless you want to hang out at a truck stop or an airport. My girlfriend was also out of town, so using her phone was not an option either. That meant that I was effectively incommunicado for two days.
On my first day without a phone, I was mostly hungover and not in the mood to do a lot of yappin’ anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal; however, by day two, things had changed. Since I was still nursing my hangover, I didn’t feel like cooking anything for dinner and I didn’t feel like driving anywhere for food either. Pizza delivery sounded like the perfect solution, but then I realized that I couldn’t place an order at my local pizza spot without a phone. I agonized about leaving the house for so long that I ended up getting stuck driving to Taco Bell for the closest thing to a pizza I could find, a Mexican Pizza, which, I think we can all agree, is no replacement for a real pizza.
Missing out on pizza is one thing, but not having a phone also meant I couldn’t communicate easily with my girlfriend while she was out of town. We had to coordinate a time to meet up through email until we eventually figured out how to do a video call with my laptop. Even then, my girlfriend’s view for much of our conversation was of my feet because the program we were using would not let me switch to the front-facing camera until the last 30 seconds of our conversation. We made it work because my girlfriend is a good sport, but it was weird.
Not having a phone certainly made life more difficult in other ways. Besides being my only phone, it is also my only watch and alarm clock. I stopped wearing a watch when I first got a cellphone and I threw away my old alarm clock when I moved back to Sac because I didn’t think I needed it anymore. Clearly, I was wrong about that, but luckily, I found an even older alarm clock in a storage bin in the closet. The lights seemed to flicker a bit on it, but fortunately, it worked and I made it to the office on time.
My work is busy and requires a lot of concentration. Usually, I need to leave the office for lunch to get away from everyone and mentally prepare myself for the second half of the day. Without a clock to know when to come back, I was forced to eat lunch in the office. That day felt like an eternity. Part of my job requires me to be out of the office as well, which meant I couldn’t always be near a clock. I was worried that I’d miss my appointments, so my girlfriend loaned me a watch to keep track of time, but I broke it before I even had a chance to use it. I was starting to wonder if I should be handling anything mechanical.
Things were not going my way and I needed to chill. I usually calm myself down by reading some internets on my phone, but that clearly wasn’t happening. I tried to buy my favorite magazine to kill time instead, but the store still hadn’t stocked the latest issue. With no magazine and no phone, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Everywhere I looked, people were talking on their phones, or looking at them and I had nothing. Empty handed, I stared off into the abyss and reminisced about what life was like before, when I had a phone of my very own.
And then a new phone came into my life. It was like my old phone, but a little shinier. I could tell that it had never been inside of a toilet and I hope that it remains that way. I know I will certainly be more careful using my phone around the porcelain throne and will only take it out after I am seated. Sometimes, it’s important to set boundaries, even for yourself, especially if those boundaries end up being the difference between having and not having a phone. Let this be a warning to all!