Several weeks ago, I tried an experiment. I woke up and left my phone plugged into the outlet in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG. I did this exercise because I Look At My Phone While I Rock My Son.
I will not pretend that we got off on a good foot as my first thought that morning was, I kid you not, “Man, I wish I had my phone so I can document this.” Face palm. They say detox ain’t pretty, folks. Give me a minute.
As I drove Miles to school, I felt connected in a strange way to my own childhood. I imagined my mother going through her days with nary a cellphone in sight. I felt nostalgic for the mid-nineties. I may have looked around my house for a puffy scrunchie I could just keep on my wrist all day as a throw-back sign of the times. (I didn’t really.)
It was all Ace of Base-tastic until the sentimental feelings gave way to a lack of convenience. There were small inconveniences, like Joe and I had to actually MAKE PLANS prior to my leaving the house because we couldn’t just text later. I debated taking my phone with and stashing it in the car in case of emergency, but decided that I, like mothers of 1994, would survive.
One issue arose that I didn’t foresee: I don’t own a watch and the clock in my car is busted so I was at a constant loss as to the time. This posed a problem because I needed to pick up my son from pre-school and being on time was preferable. That morning as I ran errands, I exercised the age-old social interaction of stopping complete strangers to ask them for the time. I also strained my neck driving past banks hoping they had a scrolling sign with the current time. NOT ONE bank came through for me (which is violent proof that banks are failing us, people). At one point, I resorted to what can only be described as an unwavering testimony to my ingenuity and resourcefulness: I CHECKED MY RECEIPT FROM TARGET TO FIGURE OUT THE TIME. I know, I know. Move over Bear Grylls. I checked the time stamp from the moment of transaction and I was able to estimate the time it took me to load up my car plus how long it would take me to drive to Miles’ school for an on-time arrival. Boom sauce. You can’t make this stuff up.
As the day went on, I thought less and less about the experiment and my lack of phone access. I didn’t miss it. I didn’t feel a strange iPhone shaped whole in my heart. It just didn’t really matter either way. The experiment was wholly uneventful, which in a way, was good. It informed me that I was still in control of my phone, not the other way around.
I will probably do similar things like this in the future, just to keep my habits and heart in check. I know I’m not alone in my sentiments and I’m sure it will continue to be a hot topic as we raise this iGeneration of babies. My hope is that I stay on the side of healthy boundaries and habits for me and my family when it comes to technology. I am sure that pretending I live in 1996 for a day is just the tip of the iceberg.