Today I inadvertently left the house without my phone. It did not realize that I was without it until I arrived at the university. My initial reaction was a sense of mental confusion – almost as if I had lost my bearings.
It was kind of like those dreams you have where you are the only one naked in a room of people and all you can think about is your nakedness and vulnerability (I assume I am not the only one who has these types of dreams, if not, please send a therapist). Being phone-less was unsettling and became the entirety of my narrative at the outset. Fortunately, just as one moves through the stages of grief, I navigated my way through my new reality – I accepted my nakedness and carried on with my day.
Here is what I learned today – I like being naked.
I had forgotten what it was like to be out in the world without an electronic tether. I had also forgotten the freedom (or as my friend Theresa termed it – the liberation) that comes with being wholly in the space you are in without the incessant need to be tuned into your phone’s cue that you have a new message or email. I wondered when exactly I bought into the norm of having my phone be a part of me. It wasn’t always this way.
I did not even own a cellphone until I moved to North Dakota in 1997. My first cellphone was a flip phone that I used mostly for emergencies. I did not widely distribute the number, I did not carry it with me everywhere, and texting – forget about it. By the time I moved to a slider phone with a cute pink case, I was getting more attached to the notion of carrying a phone with me, but my woeful lack of texting skills still limited my phone to being primarily a phone. It was my first smart phone, which proved to be far more intelligent than me, that the notion that constant connection was something to be desired garnered a foothold. Now all these years later, I cannot conceive being separated from my phone. Well, until today…until I was naked out in the world and found it to be sort of delightful.
I think I may become predictably forgetful where my phone is concerned. Even when I do have it with me, I think I will silence it and leave it stowed for emergencies or functional applications. I think I am more present and a better version of me when I am fully focused on the interactions I am engaged in. I will remind myself that my phone is a tool, much like my car – it has a defined purpose, it is not a part of my being. In sum, I will remember that I like being naked.
Try it some time dear readers, you too may find it to be sort of delightful.
Another day in the new forty – obla di obla da