Living Without a Phone
By Amanda Labuza
I never considered myself someone who is attached to their phone. So when it broke and had to be sent away for repairs for two weeks, I thought I could handle it. Sure, it’d be a change, but maybe unplugging for a bit would be good for me. Previously I’ve given up electronics for a weekend camping or on a retreat. This didn’t seem like it would be that different.
It turns out that I had no idea what I was in for. All of those previous times were planned days filled with nature and people, and I had no need for a phone. In everyday life, phones have become a necessity. There are the obvious issues with calling and texting people, suddenly needing to make plans ahead of time, and not having a portable music player any more. There is so much more now. I realized how often I set timers, reminders, and to-do lists on my phone. At least one person thought I was angry and giving them the silent treatment. I missed at least one event because I didn’t have my calendar notifications. Travel was very difficult. Not being able to look up when the next bus comes requires patience. Not playing on your phone while you wait an unknown amount of time for a bus is infuriating. I forgot how many practical things I use my phone for. Taking a picture of a gel, telling someone their sample is ready, texting a question, or even telling someone I’m running late. It all added up so quickly.
The worst part though, was something I didn’t expect. There was suddenly a large sense of endangerment. Phones now provide a layer of safety for us. I couldn’t call campus security for an escort home after working late. I couldn’t call a Lyft if the bus never showed up. I felt stranded. I couldn’t text my roommate to expect me home in 10 minutes or call the cops. Heaven forbid if something were to happen, I couldn’t even call 911.
Phones have become vital to our lives in ways I never knew. Living without one has been challenging to say the least…and I still had an iPad, a kindle, and a laptop. I have a new appreciation for technology in my life. I cannot wait to be in full communication again. No more worrying that I’m missing messages, missing meetings, or just missing out. This Thanksgiving, I recommend turning off your phone for dinner, enjoying the people around you, and then being totally thankful you can turn your phone back on.