Recently, when I was on my travels to Spain at the very beginning of this year, my beloved Iphone, Ivy (yes she has a name. So does my laptop...and what?) was stolen by some Spanish thieving **** and was lost forever to start her own travels around Europe without me. She was a year and a half old, several models out of date, scratched, dented, dirty and hadn't been updated for a while. But this didn't make her loss any less easy.
The main reason why I was upset about losing her was mostly for the pictures and the messages on there. The phone itself is replaceable, the apps are re-downloadable, the contacts are a pain to be collected again but is doable...what can not be replaced are the messages. Those little conversations that you have without even thinking about it. I don't read back my messages often, but I do occasionally if I am feeling sad and needing some love in my life. There are a lot of memories on there. And that is even more the case when it comes to the pictures. I no longer own a camera so all of my pictures are taken with my phone and I had about 4 holidays on there and countless day trips/casual snaps recorded on the sim. That is what I will miss and what thieves do not think about when they take the phone. All they see is money, not thinking about the person who is losing out through their greed. I can think of a few other examples where that is the case as well...
But what I didn't really think about when I was getting upset through the loss of Ivy, was the logistics of not having a mobile. These days it is very unusual for anyone to be without one and they makes it easier when arranging to meet up with people, reading emails, sending information, showing something to someone...everything like that. If I am running late or something has happened to a train I am travelling on, I would just rattle off a quick text to say so. If I didn't know where someone was, I would give them a ring. If I was out shopping alone, I would send a picture to a friend for an opinion. I am constantly checking my work emails when I am out and about in case my casual-shift job calls me in last minute. None of this, you can do without a mobile. And we no longer notice we are doing it.
The fact that we are in constant communication with each other means we are very casual with each other when we eventually do meet face to face. We do not worry about time keeping, seeing the organised time as a rough estimate to aim for and do not think anything of being a few minutes late. Or more. Or cancelling at the last minute. And we do not worry about breaking off in the middle of the conversation to look at a text or another notification, which when you think about it, is like turning your back on your friend mid conversation and speaking to someone else instead. You wouldn't do that in real life, but somehow it is ok to put your phone on the table when you're having a meal with someone and to break off whenever. And no one bats an eyelid.
I know I am guilty of both the things I put above. Particularly since buying an Iphone 18 months ago, I have always used and relied on my phone too much (I have not even gone on to the little things I use it for such as an alarm in the morning or to add pictures to this blog or avoiding awkwardness when I have no one to talk to...). But going this week without it, has shown me just how much I rely on it. For those of you, who sit on your high horse and tell me, 'you are always on your phone'...well, yes that is true but so are you. And to be honest, it isn't completely necessary. If you see a pretty sunset, is it completely necessary to take a picture and send it to all your friends. If you are out for lunch with a friend, is it completely necessary to be in constant touch with all the rest of them as well? Instead of walking along texting, why don't you look around, people watch and observe the world around you. I know it's hard to get out of the habit of using it when it's right in front of you all the time. It had to be forced away from my hand to finally observe life without it. But give it a go, just for a day or even less. Maybe you will feel what I feel...a small sense of relief.