On October 13th, during Grown-Ass Woman Month, Leandra admitted that she hates how much time she spends on her phone. “For me, the phone promotes habitually bad behavior, which, if I had to guess, stops mental expansion,” she wrote. On November 4th, during Consumption Month, I wrote an MR Writers Club prompt wherein I said the following: “If I read one more think piece about all of us being addicted to our phones, I’m going to find a loophole in the constitution and marry mine out of spite.”
Leandra, upon reading this, shouted across the office: “Haley, do you really feel that way about your phone?”
I said yes, she said write about it, I said okay. Now it’s December 7th, we’re one week into Contradictions Month, so allow me: Of all my battles to pick, I do not have one to pick with my phone.
Why would I? It wakes me up, brings music to my ears, tells me where to go, collects and records my most intimate thoughts, tracks all my to-dos, answers all my trivial questions, documents where I’ve been, connects me with people I love. My phone is my knowing totem. Fuck “technology attachment issues,” this thing is literal magic in my hands.
When I lost it during Fashion Week this past September, I did not rapturously find myself outside the confines of my iOS. Rather, I cried more than once out of genuine frustration. A little because I was bored, but mostly because I was thrust into a very modern world without the modern tools the environment called for. It felt like walking in a city without shoes. In 2016, smart phones are increasingly part of the deal and resenting them feels silly.
I understand that notifications are digital shoulder taps: greedy for our attention and a little soul-sucky, but this seems a small price to pay. Or further, one we can choose to pay or not. I mostly use my phone for music, maps, photos and googling. Tools that are useful and dear to me; tools that keep my head up instead of down and enhance the way I experience New York and my life. They don’t drive me crazy.
But no one, including Leandra, is arguing the modern convenience of a smart phone, I know. Maybe, if I’m honest, outshining my love for my phone is my principled refusal to worry about yet another thing I’ve come to rely on. I’m too tired. My penchant for self-improvement has reached its maximum capacity. That’s probably the crux of it. If I have no plans to change my relationship with my phone, why waste the energy wondering if I should?
Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.