My phone and I, in happier times.
My word for 2015 has been selected for me, against my will, but also with my inadvertent cooperation: UNPLUGGED.
Tonight, on the way home from a New Year's Day gathering, it occurred to me that I had no idea where my phone was. A moment later, a horrible realization hit: while rummaging in my purse to find my keys, I had set down my phone on the trunk of my aunt's car -- a car that was, at the moment of this realization, doing at least 55 on the freeway.
Thanks to the wonder that is the "Find My iPhone" app, my daughter determined the whereabouts of the phone, and we made our way toward it, hazard lights blinking, at 10 miles per hour on the shoulder of the pitch black freeway until the app claimed we had "reached our destination" -- at which point I came to learn that by "destination," the app meant "destiny," as in, "Your destiny is never to see your phone again."
So we erased the phone remotely.
Mind you, this was not easy. I form strong attachments to objects, like the hair barrette I lost in seventh grade while playing soccer. I spent five consecutive recesses searching every part of the field for a barrette that hadn't meant much to me up until I lost it. I never found it. Just thinking about that barrette makes my chest tighten. I imagine it is somewhere still out there, waiting to be found. I kind of want to go looking for it right now.
That's how mental I can be.
Now substitute a PHONE for a stupid barrette, and maybe you'll begin to understand how I reacted tonight. Luckily, my passenger was a daughter I can blessedly call my own, who talked me down, erased the phone's contents, and reminded me that it was, after all, just an object.
I told her the barrette story. She was, unsurprisingly, unsurprised.
What will life be like for me, without my cyborg capacities? Who will I be without my phone? What will I do? Will Instagram go on without me? If a text goes out into the wilderness of the Interwebs, and no one is there to answer, did it really happen?
As you may know if you visit my blog at this time of year, I am in the habit of declaring a word for the year, and tonight, after reporting the time of death of my iPhone (9:10 p.m.), I joked that my word for the year should be "unplugged."
And then I realized that it really should be.
Oh, HECK yes, I am so getting another phone, but I am also going to take some time to learn a lesson.
In one of my favorite TED talks ever, cyborg anthropologist Amber Case, referring to cell phones, claims,
This year, I am going to seek unplugged moments, calculated intersections of time and space, mindfully turning away from the screen -- irresistible as it is -- to focus on the "creation of self."
Your death was not in vain, dear iPhone.
I wonder when my new one will be arriving?