A Week without a Phone: a grueling, timeless endeavor

My iPhone got sick in early March. It was just a normal day: we were spending time together, checking in at any spare moment, when inexplicably at lunchtime I checked the time on my phone to see that my iPhone thought it was 2 a.m. From that day forward, I knew everything about my life would change.

They say “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone,” and now, no one understands that better than I do. For the following week, my life resembled that horrific “Let Her Go” song by Passenger: my voice was whiny, and I was repetitive (“my phone is fucked up”) and a living cliché. Of course, this cliché was that kids these days are too dependent on technology. Despite the fact that we’ve heard this a million times, this statement is actually pretty relevant.

So, my phone stopped keeping time; this meant several immediate things for my day-to-day life. Firstly, when I was alone, I would have no idea what time it was. If you spent any time with me that week (I can’t see why you would want to), then I would have barked at you every three minutes demanding to know what time it was. I actually tried in desperation to use my phone as a sundial once while walking across campus, but I calculated incorrectly, and arrived for my Art 106 mid-term five hours early. Of course, time issues meant that I needed a new reliable way to wake up in the morning. Initially, I contacted ResLife about their in-room rooster policy, but I was sadly informed that wild and domesticated animals can only live in Raymond and Cushing. This meant that I had to return to the stone ages and set an alarm clock as my morning bell.

As the weeks went on, my phone only got worse. All time-based apps went to shit. I called T-Mobile and Apple, and they helped me through a series of resets that reduced my phone’s function to the point where it was merely a rectangular flashlight. I was a wreck—I had gone from 523rd best in the world at “Rat on a Jetski” to a feral creature, reduced to using clocks, making plans in person and connecting with the real world. I couldn’t Snapchat from the gym (#gunshow #somedaysoff), live-tweet the Deece or play Jelly Splash in my classes. What was a boy supposed to do?

It made me think about what it was like living in a world without cell phones. After all, Julius Caesar didn’t group text the Senators saying, “Dinner at the Imperial Palace at VI everyone is invited. Yes and you, Brutus!” Jesus did not send Snapchats from the cross, or tweet “I’m back, bitches!” on Easter. Shouldn’t I be able to live in a world without my cell phone? Apparently not. According to Web-MD, I was displaying many key signs of withdrawal, such as sweating, shaking, cravings, having hot-dogs for fingers and, at times, feeling nonexistent phones buzzing in my pocket.

I decided to go to Baldwin to see if I could get an iPatch to put on my shoulder to reduce the cravings, or perhaps iOS gum that I could chew. Instead, they gave me a small plastic block the exact shape, size and weight of my old iPhone. I put a case over this iPhony and went about my daily life, comforted by its tender weight in my pocket and the way it felt in my hand, but knowing, as Drake did, that nothing was the same.

It would be nice to say that I got used to my predicament, decided I didn’t need my phone and wrote some poetry about the natural world or timeless beauty or some shit. However, though my phone was timeless, I saw no beauty in it, and in no time found myself at the Apple store in Grand Central. I was immediately thrust back into the iWorld I had been missing for the past weeks. As if to mock me, Apple employees darted around, holding iPads and iPhones and helping others with their phones. I think the device to human ratio in that zone was 7:1.

One thing that was nice about the Apple people is they seemed to understand how much I had suffered without my iPhone. The Genius that helped replace my phone shuddered and hugged his iPad extra close as I recounted my story. He then proceeded to open up my new phone and drop it on the ground. People looked up from their clicking keyboards to see us both laughing and making sure the brand new phone was all right. Perhaps in the ephemeral moment of the dropped iPhone, I saw human connection as more important than Wi-Fi connection—but I’ve forgotten about all of that now. I can safely say I learned nothing from the experience, and I will return to playing Jelly Splash as soon as I finish typing this sentence.

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