I return my smart phone to the store yesterday and ask for one less smart. I don't want to have it anymore, I tell the befuddled clerk. I don't go into detail. "I just don't want it anymore. I don't like how it makes me..." I trail off, realizing this is one person who will not agree or understand me. "Money's tight and it just doesn't make sense for me." If I hadn't also just quit my daily caffeine intake, I'd have gone blindly into a deeper explanation, but my sobriety keeps me from spewing frivolous sentences to strangers, especially ones I can tell really don't give a damn.
I am addicted to it, distracted by it, defeated by it. My phone, that is. I tell myself I'm looking for the time, but then I'm checking my email, responding to email, then checking all the applications I have downloaded as conveniences and ways to keep in touch with people. It does keep me a little closer to others, but predominantly--I'm now realizing--it keeps me distant from myself.
The decision to rid my life of my smart phone starts when I cut my hair short last week. To my chin with layers. I try taking a photo with my phone because that is what having a smart phone does. It causes me to feel as if I must photograph every funny/fun/colorful/new moment I witness and experience. And so I try to take a picture of myself. I want it to show my hair, but mostly I want it to be a pretty picture for others to compliment and raise my droopy self-esteem, while also not looking like I'm self-involved (which is impossible because the act of taking a photo of one self and then posting it on the internet is equivalent to shouting "LOOK AT ME EVERYONE" in a quiet crowded room). I try taking several pictures, which embarrasses me now to write. I do not look satisfactory. Then I feel bad about myself. That's when I notice the curve of my neck. How often I am on my phone looking, checking, scrolling, messaging, self-doubting. It is constant. Whenever I have to wait or whenever I feel the slightest bit bored. It's as if I don't want my mind to form thoughts anymore and I must run and fine the words and photos of others to distract me from my own perfectly working mind. A distraction. That is what it is. A distraction from the present. Well, I want to be here now. I've spent too many years there then. Now it's time I look at the sky and see it. Now is the time I see my husband and not just through my phone while I take a picture of him because the light from the window has cast a dramatic shadow beneath his unshaven angular chin. It has only been a day with my old timey flip phone, but it feels like flight and not airplane--rumbling, shaky, do I trust this stranger to not crash?--kind of flight, but unencumbered feathered flight--no suitcase, no television, no radio, just the whistle of wind.