Hi I’m Laura and I’m a Smart Phone Zombie.
The other night, my husband and I went out for a casual dinner five minutes from our home. Two minutes into the five-minute drive, I impulsively reached for my iPhone only to find the pocket in my purse empty. A moment of panic hit me until I remembered I had been charging the phone on my bedside table. The phone wasn’t lost but I felt as if had left my arm at home. A limb was missing. Once my heart rate and breathing returned to normal, I thought that is a ridiculous response to something I had once not even owned.
There was life before cellphones, I remember it. Where people left you messages on a machine that took tiny cassette tapes. The internet was something in the future and not the lifeline it has become. So I took a deep breath and thought it’s only for an hour. Dinner with my husband without my face in my phone was relaxing. I wasn’t trying to split my attention between him and the cute cat videos were on Facebook. After dinner, we got ice cream and took a drive out in the country as the sun was starting to set into a perfect summer night. Since we bought a house eight miles outside of town, we like to drive out to see it, oh about every night. As if stalking the place will convince the current residents to get the hell out so we can move in earlier than Labor Day weekend. But mostly because we are trying to make the transition real in our minds and well, we like looking at our future abode.
I opened the car window and let the warm air rush in over me. Closing my eyes, I could determine the different crops in the fields by the smells as we drove past. Hay, corn, soybeans. Spending my earliest years on my paternal grandparents farm in Bumfuk, Missouri, schooled me in the smells of the country. Cows, chickens, hogs. These are the reminders of the best memories of my childhood. Running free over all those acres with my cousins was always a grand adventure in otherwise tedious growing up years with an alcoholic parent. I had been missing this on all our other drives. Because I had my head down and my mouth gaping open like a zombie. Uuuuggrrrhhh… That’s probably how I sounded to my husband when he’d talk to me or ask me a question to get my attention.
So the next day, I put my phone in a drawer and left it there several hours. It’s an addiction, much like cigarettes, I found myself wanting to go into the bedroom and retrieve it. Like for a smoker and you just ate a satisfying meal, but you are craving that nicotine with a vengeance. As a former smoker, I know what this is like. You are a slave to an object. Cigarettes I finally quit. Now I have to find a way to live with my smart phone as well as my tablet as I can’t completely give them up like smokes. Tonight my phone has been in the drawer so far for 2.5 hours (who’s counting?) as I’m on mandated hiatus until bedtime around ten p.m. I keep wanting to go open the drawer and peek at the screen like an anxious kid waiting for homemade chocolate chip cookies to come out of the oven. It’s pathetic how addicted I am.
I am writing this post on my tablet but I am only allowed to open my WordPress app. I have to ignore the numbers by my text message balloon icon and my mail. Whatever is in there, has to wait. No peeking at Facebook either. I have to admit it is really hard. It only takes two clicks to cheat. The other day I was watching a movie my cousin suggested called Local Color about a young artist who mentors with an older Russian artist. There is a scene in the movie where the young man is painting outside, plein air, and the neighbor woman comments on his painting. He remarks that he isn’t living up to his potential. For some reason this statement has stuck with me. I’m always focused on goals but not really my potential which maybe is part of my problem. Was I living up to my potential? No.
One of my passions is writing but outside of this blog, a few articles and stories published, at forty-five I haven’t truly applied myself. I’ve finished one novel rough draft but can’t stand to go back to edit as the story drags too much. I’m on my fifth or sixth rewrite of my current novel. In my mind unless I have perfect conditions to write or maybe I have too much going on, I really don’t write much or pursue my potential. My smart phone addiction has a lot to do with this. It distracts me from being productive in so many ways. My addiction is also a good distraction from working toward my goal of publishing a book, exercising, finishing that home project and the list goes on and on.
We only have so much time in this world. I realize that I waste a lot of my precious life to my addiction. After that phone-free drive the other night, I realized I was actually calmer and happier. While it is important that I am available if my daughters or husband need me, I don’t need to be a slave to the electronic brick. It’s past time to put that down and get back in the game. I hope I can find a happy medium of having my phone and not missing out on life or not pursing my passions in life, developing my potential. I’ll post an update soon…
There’s a blue moon tonight. Smart Phone Zombie Out.