When Did We Become An Extension Of Our Phones?
Life should not be an intermission between phone sessions.
Do you still enjoy my company?
You’re not company anymore. You’ve become an intermission between phone sessions.
It was meant to be a joke, the tone was humorous. But it wasn’t really.
It was an accurate representation of what my life had become. I wasn’t always a phone freak, at least not before phones became smartphones. When I was a teenager I didn’t really enjoy long conversations on the phone. I would have rather been playing computer games or reading books or just exploring my own imagination.
But when phones became smart, mine slowly became an extension of my body. It started off 80:20. I’d spend an hour or two on my phone every day. But that was before Facebook messenger came about... and Whatsapp and Snapchat and Instagram. Since launching my own business a few months ago, the 80:20 reversed.
Life became an intermission between phone sessions.
"The rest of the time is spent talking about what to do after work. As if there’s a time in which work magically stops..."
Now there isn’t a minute in the day that I don’t have a reason to be on the phone. Most of the time is spent on work. Clients, colleagues, suppliers and partners always have a reason to call, email or text. Mostly to ask about another call, email or text. The rest of the time is spent talking about what to do after work. As if there’s a time in which work magically stops.
So then you finally agree to do something. You start a film, you meet your friends, you pour a glass wine... and your phone buzzes again. Sometimes I think this is unique to my life. Maybe I’ve just taken on too much work, too many friends, too many commitments.
But if I’m the extreme, I should serve as a warning to others.
If you’re like me, you can’t stop at traffic lights without looking at your phone.
If not, you probably still can’t rule out that you’ve looked at your phone while driving at least once this week.
If you’re like me, you look at your phone less than three minutes into any conversation, and every three minutes after that.
If not, you probably still find yourself sometimes being much more interested in what’s happening online than in real life.
If you’re like me, people are constantly hassling you, either because you’re on your phone or because you’re off it and not replying immediately.
If you’re not like me, you’re probably the person hassling me for being on my phone or not replying the one time you need me.
This is something we should be talking about. It’s also something we should think about next time we text someone at 8:00 pm and expect them to reply just because your phone tells you they’ve seen it. Maybe this is what it means for sci-fi’s worst nightmare to come true: machines vs man.
The machine's very existence forces us to spend hours on them, usually doing mindless tasks or just getting distracted by even more mindless.
And they’re slowly killing us. They're making us drive more recklessly. They give us anxiety, and the space to create fights with our partners. Taking over our real lives, our sex lives, our family lives.
If my grandmother were to watch what I did all day, I wonder what she would say.
I wonder if I would look like a robot to her. Zoning out of conversations, suddenly getting immersed into something that’s happening on my phone, getting called out for it, zoning back in, looking disorientated.
It must look like time travelling.
So, this is a note to the future.