I never realised how attached and dependant I was on my mobile phone until last week.
Last Tuesday I was heading into Glasgow for a meeting and whilst on the train I realised I had left my mobile phone at home. “Not to worry,” I thought, it will be liberating not to have my phone with me. Sure enough, after a successful meeting I headed back home and was reunited with my phone. Apart from the few occasions of thinking about checking emails I really hadn’t missed it.
Two days later I was again on the train to Glasgow and I realised I had forgotten my phone again. I should mention that I never forget my phone so the fact that I forgot it twice in the space of two days was very unusual. It was if the universe was trying to teach me a lesson.
This day was different. I was completely lost without my phone and had a feeling of isolation which is ridiculous since I was surrounded by people. I realised how dependant I was on my mobile.
I had a few issues that were arising due to not having my phone. Firstly, I had a meeting to attend and because I use my phone as my diary I couldn’t remember where I was supposed to attend the meeting. Secondly, I had arranged to meet my brother for lunch after my meeting and I didn’t know when my meeting would end so I was to text my brother after my meeting had finished. Thirdly, I also use my phone as a time keeper so I had no idea what time it was.
I had to ask a lady for the time which she told me with a strange look on her face and on route to my meeting, which I luckily remembered the location of, I spotted a telephone box. I should add that this is the only public telephone box that I found that day. They are so rare these days. I had never noticed this before. I remember when I was younger that telephone boxes were everywhere but obviously with mobile communication there isn’t a great demand for them.
I went into the telephone box which was pretty badly smashed up, covered in graffiti and had a pungent stench of urine. Naively, I took out a 10 pence piece from my purse and picked up the receiver that was dangling from the phone. To my surprise the phone was working. Next step was to figure out how to work the phone. It was marketed in the phone box as an email phone. It had a cracked screen which meant I couldn’t read the menu and it had a keyboard instead of numbers.
I tried to put my 10 pence into the money slot and then I managed to decipher the words, “60 pence for voice call” in between the cracks of the broken screen. 60 pence!!!!!! I was standing there with my wee 10 pence! I had to rummage through my purse and eventually I found the correct change. Even putting the coins into the phone was a right palaver. Finally, with my money inserted I realised that I didn’t know anyone’s mobile number because my phone took care of all that.
The only number I could remember was my mum’s landline. I dialled the number and asked my mum to relay a message to my brother so he would know where to meet me for lunch. My mum told me that they very rarely answer the landline because it is usually only nuisance calls they receive. Luckily she answered the phone that morning. I realised that we use our mobiles to call each other’s mobiles which means the landlines are rarely used.
I attended my meeting and waited at the meeting point for my brother. Whilst waiting I really did feel quite conscious because I didn’t have my mobile to focus on. I looked around and saw the majority of people all had their heads down as they walked and texted at the same time. Others were walking whilst talking on their mobiles. There were very few people who were actually just walking and taking in their surroundings.
I realised that by being free of my mobile for 1 day actually resulted in me being present, concentrating on what I was doing in the moment and also noticing everything around me. I felt more alive. As a person who practices Yoga on and off the mat I was astounded at this since I always beleived that I was totally present and being mindful, obviously not the case when I have my trusted mobile beside me.
For the first time in years I realised how closed off we have become when we have our mobile devices with us, which I find really interesting since the whole point of them is to keep us connected with everyone.
Well Universe, I must admit I have learned my lesson. I realised that I use my mobile as my alarm clock, my camera, my diary, my email communicator, my phone, my SMS device and also sometimes a substitute for meeting folks for a coffee since I catch up with them through social media and emails!
It will be difficult but I am consciously making an effort to lessen the time I spend with my mobile and get back to basics such as using my alarm clock as my alarm clock, my watch for time keeping and using my fancy pants Nikon camera to take pictures. I will also purchase a paper diary. If I am really brave, I might even venture out into the big city again without my phone!