My friends and I recently stumbled into a conversation about how the unusual quirks of our phones represent us. Rachel’s phone doesn’t go on airplane mode; it’s always working just like she is. Jeff’s phone only responds occasionally, or selectively (or maybe that’s just him). As for my phone, it’s always dead. I originally offered this comparison as a joke but my friends responded with completely serious faces. This was an accurate description of me. Although, in my case, dead meant asleep and not, well, dead. Besides always being dead at inconvenient times, my phone is also extremely stubborn (I don’t see the comparison here). It refuses to charge unless it is in a very specific position and it basically does whatever it wants despite my incessant and frustrated finger tapping. Evidently our phones say a lot about us. Perhaps the fact that my phone seems to represent parts of my soul explains why I feel so incomplete without it.
Recently, I was without my phone for approximately twenty hours. I managed to survive these trying times, but it wasn’t easy. Every time I found myself on the outskirts of a conversation, I casually reached to check Twitter and was disappointed by the emptiness of my pocket. What was I supposed to do in a social situation without it? Make eye contact? Actually talk to people? These concepts felt foreign to me. I managed to continuously forget I was without my electronic leash. I couldn’t stalk the people who came up in our conversations. I didn’t know what to do with my thumbs. I volunteered my camera to take a photograph before realizing my phone was alone in South Campus. It must have been so lonely, so scared. It didn’t deserve this. Neither of us did. Why do bad things happen to good people? I wondered longingly. I’m almost positive a single tear rolled down my cheek as I remembered the casualties of war (or of visiting friends in a Blizzard).
Ultimately, my phone and I both survived this painful separation with minimal damage. I’m not nearly as popular as I imagine I am, and my phone was returned with no missed calls and, alas, no battery. As for me, without my phone by my side to snuggle, I had no alarm and arguably slept for at least twelve of these twenty hours.
My phone is my friend, my alarm, and my music. It brings me facts, entertainment, and directions. It answers my questions, captures my memories, and broadcasts my thoughts. Despite the fact that it normally does all of these things at exactly the wrong times, my phone is unfortunately and undeniably a part of who I am. Phones are a part of society and there’s no avoiding it. They give us something to hold, somewhere to look on a crowded train, and a way to avoid talking to an acquaintance you pass on the sidewalk. They say that people begin to look like their dogs; maybe we as a generation are beginning to behave like our phones.