There was no warning when my phone decided to call it a day just after 4.30pm on a Wednesday. It came suddenly, out the blue and I was initially stumped as to how there hadn’t been any signs. The black screen remained black even when plugged in. It was a goner. Fuck.
My commute home was a long, hour and a half back to Brixton from North Finchley and it was the commute that I initially thought of first. No music, no podcast, no nothing to amuse me. However, I then began to think of everything else that my lack of phone would mean for me and the ones that stood out, were the following:
- No Whatsapp.
- No work emails.
- No Social Media.
- No side hustle communication.
- NO GOOGLE MAPS!
Nightmare. I solemnly commuted home, alone with my thoughts and I think that was perhaps the worst bit. I suddenly had a whole hour to just think to myself. This is something I rarely like to do, because normally I allocate ‘thinking to myself’ for when I turn my lights out at night. I get from place to place, usually chatting on the phone, listening to music or engaging with some kind of contact on my phone, that doesn’t involve real thinking, because my phone allows me to zone out from the actual realities of my day to day. And so it began… I first started to think about all things I had to do that I hadn’t done. The backlog of emails, the new calls that hadn’t been scheduled, direct debits that hadn’t been cancelled and general grooming, like the dentist and gym, that had been neglected. Eurgh. That’s a lot of negativity!
However, by the time I had left the Northern line and was making my way to the Victoria line, the negative thoughts soon started to be replaced with more positive thoughts. I actually began to think a bit more clearly about things that I wanted to do, places that I wanted to explore and people and things that made me happy. I momentarily ruined this by going into Carphone Warehouse, exchanging some heated words with the guy behind the counter and stalking onto the 133 bus defeated, for the final leg home.
Once home, (wine poured) I sat in the garden with my house mate and the negative cloud began to lift. In all honesty, constantly being connected to my phone had been giving me a headache. It was the reminder of all the things I hadn’t done. It was the thin black box that contained numbers, emails, reminders and social media accounts as well as screenshots of things ‘to look at later’- it was the plague!
I felt more at ease with my phone completely dead than I did with it being plugged into a charger (and alive) in the next-door room. At work the next day, I took the steps to phone Vodafone and enquire about an upgrade, which thankfully I was entitled to. The phone would arrive at some point on Monday.
I always used to think losing my phone would be an absolute nightmare and my world would stop moving without it. Don’t get me wrong, Google Maps is essential to my basic survival in London and I won’t be moving far for long without it. But the one blessing losing it did give me, was the time it allowed me to just think to myself quietly. I realised that the reason I was waking up so exhausted sometimes was due to the fact that I saved up all my ‘me thoughts’ right up until I decided it was time to go to sleep, which only seemed to multitude the speed at which my angst would grow!
I think we are all guilty of mindlessly making our way through our daily routines. Of zoning in and out of life as we are connected to our phones, whilst actually being disconnected from ourselves.
I’ve often rolled my eyes at those who say you should turn your phone off at 7pm to allow yourself to ‘switch off’ from the day, because I didn’t see the point of it and made assumptions about people who thought they needed to. The last few days have allowed me to make new assumptions though and I’ve come to realise tapping out earlier will cause me far less stress and far more mental ease!