Exactly two weeks ago, my iPhone 5 was stolen. When I was able to get to a computer, I used Find my iPhone to track it. The little icon of my face slowly made its way down Mission Street, took a left on 7th and landed at Market St. At this point, my phone disappeared. It had been wiped and was most likely gone for good. My emotional state ran the obvious gamut between panic and despair. But after an hour of frenetic searches on “how to find your serial number," requisite changing of passwords, and filing of police reports, I was ready for a drink and the continuation of my regular evening of chatting with friends and watching bad TV. I quickly forgot about my phone.
I didn’t choose to take a break from technology. I didn’t choose to unplug. Not all technology was gone, anyway. All I lost was my phone, that thing for calls, texts, and an astonishingly unnecessary amount of web browsing and app-ing. I have a computer at work and one at home. I have two iPods. There is a radio in my kitchen and a huge TV in my living room connected to a Roku. I had plenty of things to be plugged into. So I decided not to get another phone right away. I have been without a phone for two weeks now.
The simple, honest truth is that not much has changed without my phone. I haven’t decided to move to the woods and start a colony. The biggest thing is that I am less anxious because sometimes there is just literally nothing to do! My phone isn’t there as a crutch for when I don’t have anything immediately in front of me, as if it were an expensive and elaborate strand of hair to twirl. I’ve been staring into space, at the back of people’s heads, at tabletops more than I have in a while, and it’s boring. But I think being a bit bored is a way to reset and relax.
Several times in the last few weeks, I met up with friends at parks or bars. It was unnerving not having a phone to check the time or get updates if someone was running late or forgot about me or landed in the hospital. I mean, this is why we have phones, right? To make sure everything (in the world) is running smoothly. But with the constant ability to cancel and be late, we become flakes. With our phones, we are allowed to lose trust and reliability in people. In one instance, I was going to a friend's house whose buzzer has never worked and I always texted when I arrived. She worried about how she would know I was there. We just had to trust that it would work out. I was totally late, but when I got there, I just shouted her name. She had her window open and threw me her keys. See? We figured it out.