The smartphone sabbatical

Hey, I’m lost. What do I do? Google maps to the rescue.

I’m in a place where I don’t know anybody – facebook it is!

I’m in a new city by myself – whatsapp whatsapp whatsapp!

I’m at a bar waiting for a friend – its time to go through old messages and delete some

I’m on a long ass train journey – plug in my earphones – bye – bye world

I lost my Iphone – oh shit!

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

I wish I could just call it, but how! I don’t have a phone. So then I have to go talk to another human and borrow their phone and call mine. Its switched off!

Double shit!

After the initial hour of panic, somewhere, somehow I managed to find some peace of mind (even though I couldn’t tweet about my lost phone). It was so quiet, no beep, no beep beep, no group chats that you don’t even really care about anyway. I looked about, talked to some people and learnt a thing or two.

Hmmm. Interesting. So there is a world out there. And it’s not too bad either. I mean of course you can’t compare it to an Iphone, but being broke it would have to do.

The world and a simple flip phone that basically did nothing. (except looked pretty damn cool and was the topic of conversation at quite a few parties)

After the initial wave of excitement died down, I hated my non-smart phone! But now I had gone and made such a big deal of it that I had to suck it up and use it!

I tried sneakily to use whatsapp on it, but the gods of technology were watching and my stupid phone was really stupid.

So I gave up. I was honestly borderline depressed. Honestly. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept flipping open my dumb flip phone, hoping there would be something on that screen to entertain me, give my life meaning. But nope. No such luck. All it said was – no schedule today. I had lost my best friend and I had to replace it, fill in the void. So I did.

With people, books, early morning runs, offline conversations and actual best friends.

I moved back to phone calls and text messages (non qwerty keypad without t9 dictionary – can you imagine that?). everyone cursed me, told me I’d gone mad, some even offered me their old phones. “What do you mean we cant whatsapp you? just get back to the normal world please!”

But I was starting to like this abnormal world. my phone bills dropped. My friendships increased. I rekindled my lost love for reading. An actual book. Lots of books. I started reading 2-3 books at a time.

Suddenly my dumb phone didn’t seem like such a dumb idea.

I actually started noticing the world around me (not the world wide web one) the trees, flowers, sunsets, birds and people! Yes even people!

I spent less time trying to be funny on a group chat and more time actually meeting people and having a conversation beyond, “hey, what’s up?” – “nm, you tell me.”

Making big plans that I still haven’t actioned (but hey, I’m one step closer), having long phone conversations that honestly were super awkward in the beginning and slightly less awkward in the middle but so easy after that.

I started spending more time with myself. When was the last time you were alone and didn’t feel the need to look down at your phone? To know what everyone else was doing. To tell people you were spending “me-time”.

When was the last time to you spend time wondering what in the world is wrong with all of us? when did we become so driven by society and social likability?

Where did individuality go (no not the kind you boast about on facebook).

Triple shit!

Are we forgetting who we really are? Because we are so busy trying to get the perfect picture, do the cool thing, tweet about the trending topic?

To be reassured that we did the right thing only after we reach a certain number of likes or comments?

What if I really don’t think the Iphone 6 looks good? And that facebook profile picture of yours that 232 people love, is actually stupid? That I met a friend for coffee and didn’t feel the need to take a selfie, post it on instagram and then share it on facebook?

What if for the first time in a very long time I actually realize that doing what I want to do, maybe not telling the world about it, being the only person who knows and likes it (in my mind). Is enough?

That even though I still love facebook and am using the world wide web to share this blog. I feel a little differently about it. Sure likes still make me feel good. But they don’t dictate my behaviour. Because you know what, even if you decide to not to do the cool, some people will think its cool and like it anyway.

But what’s better is that maybe I might get somebody to stop and think about it for a second, maybe like my post and then actually put down their smart phone for a bit.

That would make me feel pretty dam smart.

P.S I lost my flip phone too. Using my mother’s used smart phone and I hate it. Please stop whatsapping me.


One thought on “The smartphone sabbatical”

  1. You should read this book by Sherry Turkle, ‘Alone Together’

    On people and their relationships with technology -


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