Our generation is on the cusp of the technological revolution and we are mesmerized, entranced, even enslaved, by growing technology and what it affords us. Candy Crush? Angry Birds? Skyping Grandma? #Boobiepics? It allows us endless possibilities. But, step on a subway and no one is making a human connection anymore, they’re all just starring at screens waiting for time to pass until their next text, twitter, or insta. When’s the last time you went to brunch without your friends snapping a #sundayfunday pic? When’s the last time you ACTUALLY spoke to your family and friends?
Yesterday, I was walking onto the subway. A drone, like everyone else, I reached down to change turn up this volume on my “This American Life” podcast because I’m wildly intelligent and listen to soft voiced podcasts like TAL, when my phone leapt from my hands, broke free from its headphone leash and slipped into the narrow crevasse between the subway and the platform onto the tracks. I had no choice but to get on the train - I was going to be late for work and I'm better than that (also I panicked). Headed uptown I sat next to an overweight, over aged man and through tears I asked him “What TIME IS IT??” He told me the time. I had no sense of time. I had no phone to tell it to me. I was crying – but what was I really crying over? A material object? A mere Apple product I had become accustomed to? I was phoneless for the next 24 hours. I was forcibly disconnected and what I learned next might surprise you…
PHONES AND TECHNOLOGY ARE FUCKING AMAZING AND I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THEM. THEY ARE EVERYTHING. WITHOUT MY PHONE I HAD TO TALK TO PEOPLE, YOU GUYS. I MEAN REALLY TALK TO THEM. LIKE MOVE MY MOUTH AND TALK WITH STRANGERS AND ACQUINTANCES AND EVEN FRIENDS.
I had to listen to the birds and shit. Do you know how loud and annoying the birds are? Do you know how much hilarious shit happens when you DON’T have your phone to take a secret picture of it? I had to TELL people it happened. Do you realize how unfunny TELLING people that shit is? I want to TWEET at people not TALK at them, COME ON! A person came up and asked me for directions. THEY ASKED ME FOR DIRECTIONS, because I didn’t have a phone to look down at as they approached me with an awkward and expectant smile. OH, and do you know how EFFED up the sound onlinealarmclock.net is? Because I do, because I had to use it to wake up this morning, BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE A PHONE. Do you know how many times the lighting was PERFECT for an amazing selfie? SEVERAL TIMES which is more than usual, okay? I had to go to bed “unplugged” without the usual lull of Netflix playing on my phone or the glowing lights that so comfortingly remind me that REM sleep is for total dummies. My personal information and identity could have been easily taken from my phone, but more importantly I JUST downloaded Tinder. Do you know what it’s like to go 24 hours without the validation of “Laurent from Manhattan” whose picture is of his really killer abs? IT’S REALLY HARD – just like Laurent’s body. I had to walk around with the stigma of a girl whose head was up looking around and ears open to hear the things around me like a FREAK. Spending a day like that taught me a lot. I now have a deep sense of empathy for those that maybe forgot their ear buds at home or maybe, couldn’t find their phone that morning. Those poor souls have to listen to the birds, hear traffic so they know when it’s safe to cross the street, interact with people, interact with friends – some real gnarly shit, guys.
Want to know what it’s like to hug a MTA employee while crying? You don’t have to wonder. My phone was handed back to me – unshattered, unharmed (thanks to my cutesy, girly Sephora phone case) and my poor apps were atrophying from lack of use. A single tear dropped down my face as I hugged the beautiful angel with a sick manicure that had saved my phone. I don’t know her name, what she looks likes, or anything that was happening around me – because I was back on my phone. Make sure you make time every day for your phone, and appreciate the fact you don’t have to talk to your neighbors.