Eleven years ago I got my first cell phone, a heavy little box about the size of a Snickers candy bar. I have since upgraded five times to the point where my iPhone 4s has more technology than used to place a man on the moon – and bring him back! Even so, my phone is old news. Succeeding generations of cell phones have morphed to fill every aspect of our lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I could use my phone to microwave a bowl of rice.
New Yorker magazine published a cover last summer which pictured a family of four standing in a tropical paradise. Each was focused on the phone in her/his hand – not on the splendid beauty surrounding them. Take a look around the next time you are at a restaurant. Observe the number of people who are texting away on their devices rather than interacting with each other. It isn’t just the teenagers, either.
My husband and I have fallen into a similar routine: most of the year, he rises first and builds a fire as he steeps the tea. I join him in the comfy chairs next to the woodstove. Not so long ago, we would drink multiple pots of Doke Black Fusion and discuss everything from meal planning to books we were reading to chores to get done to assigning pilgrimages to town for supplies and errands. We still drink multiple pots of tea, but he is lost in the New York Times app on his phone, and I am playing (poorly) the Words With Friends app on mine. Often, he comes across a recipe that he sends to my email – without having to move a muscle except his index finger.
Fifteen years ago, my telephone was on the wall at home and in my office at work. I never had to worry about leaving my phone at home – which has given rise to a new habit: even if I am five miles away from home, I will turn around and go back for the phone if I forget it. In short, I am hopelessly hooked, addicted, habituated, can’t-live-without-it. Dependent. My attraction to this device has caused me to read less and write less. Often I let my tea get cold as I try to stay on the maze in the highly addicting game Zig Zag. Is there a 12 step program for phone junkies?
Please join me on Wednesday, September 23, when we will not use our phones for anything except to make and receive calls. No texts, no games, no internet surfing, no e-mail. Every time an urge to check the screen threatens our resolve, we will make another cup of tea. Let’s get our reflective and tea-filled lives back!
Who is in with me for just one day?