In what was probably the biggest splurge of my life, I bought an iPhone about 5 months ago. At the time, I wasn't even all that excited about apps or anything. I just liked the idea of a smart phone that would let me access e-mail and that allowed me to type out texts without the pain of multi-letter digit madness. Also, iPhones are just pretty--so sleek and simple.
For a while (and by a while I mean maybe a week or so), I managed to avoid developing the attachment to my phone that so many people warned against. If anything, I was addicted to Angry Birds and would steal away little moments to fling birds at piggies, but it wasn't something I couldn't live without, even for long stretches of time (and by long stretches I mean four hours, max).
Before long, however, I was hooked. I got tuned into the phone's every noise, responding to each with the consistency of Pavlov's dogs. I answered every text immediately and jumped to check out every Facebook update or e-mail my phone sent through.
Before I got my new phone, I'd considered working hours to be for working alone, left my phone in my purse in my locker, and was genuinely curious/annoyed by my co-workers' clinically diagnosable attachments to their phones. It awed me that people could not live two hours without access to communication with the world outside. That is, of course, until I became one of them.
I tuck my phone into a cozy little spot in a drawer I have to access all the time anyway, so I can get my little fix without behaving in ways that are too odd. Typing that now I feel like The Biggest Loser (in the loser sense, not the fatty sense).
A few days ago I recognized that I was beginning to get mentally annoyed with customers for coming into the bank and interrupting my all important text conversations.
Whoah. That belonged in the "You Know You've Crossed a Line When..." file. Time to make a change.
Today's New Activity: Restricting iPhone Access, Reclaiming Sanity
It probably helped that I only worked a four-hour shift today, allowing me to ween myself slowly and with fewer jitters of withdrawal. But still I have to say it was tough. I admit I've gotten a bit of the affliction I see in people about 5 years younger than me and younger---those who had cell phones through their high school years. It has become increasingly more difficult for me to focus on only one thing at a time. I am more easily bored than I used to be, and have been spending less and less time just sitting quietly and thinking...one of my favorite former hobbies.
While I never want to be completely out-of-the-loop, or a luddite, I appreciate and admire the people I know who can still be happy with a slower, more thoughtful pace, and who don't constantly have the need to be plugged into something; I'm striving to get back to that point myself.
Leaving my phone behind today was a good exercise. Responding to the phone's noises and answering texts all the time is a pretty unsatisfying and even stressful way to go through the day. With my phone far, far away, I was able to focus all my attention on the people around me, on the extra things I could be doing in between customers, and on the big bag of Almond Hershey Kisses Geisell had left up for grabs. Much nicer way to pass an afternoon...