Have you ever tried being without your cellphone for a certain period of time?
I have. Twice in one week.
Well, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. It was more like an “Alice-in- Wonderland-White-rabbit” moment. Calling down the passage,
“Hurry up, we are going to be late!!!!”,
while pouring Woolies filter coffee into my on-the-go coffee mug and packing sandwiches into lunch boxes. Simultaneously. So the honest answer is that I forgot my phone at home trying to get the girls to school on time. Yes, twice. In one week. And I was in a slight panic when I realised it was lying on the kitchen counter, next to the kettle. My concern was not around it lying next to the kettle, but because it wasn’t in my handbag. Who wouldn’t be?
“What if one of the girls fall and need stitches and school cannot get hold of me?”
“What if I am in a car accident, unable to speak, and they can’t alert my family?”
“What if there is something important in my diary that my 40+ memory had not filed?”
I of course urged myself to stop making a mountain out of a molehill. School will phone our emergency contacts if it is serious. I will drive carefully wherever I go (especially as I would not have any distractions from a beeping phone) and I have not forgotten about any life-altering meetings or commitments. The #JacaBandit will not phone me with his secret location either. (Although I live in hope) And, on both occasions, it did not make sense braving the road works and slow traffic through Fairlands, just to fetch my phone.
The initial panic put aside, there was the other reason for a slight “without-my-lifeline-panic”. Pure #FOMO (fear of missing out).
What do I do when I am waiting for the kids to finish swimming?
I catch-up on Facebook
What do I do when I am stuck in traffic?
I read whatsapp messages (only when I am standing still, I promise)
Bored standing in the Dischem queue?
Twitter is my go-to
Because that is what we do. We have forgotten how to cope with “doing nothing”. We don’t have patience, and we are certainly less tolerant than we use to be. Just watch people around you in situations of “waiting”. 9 out of 10 people will be fiddling on their phones. Because these little devices have so much to keep us busy with! News apps, exercise apps, nutrition apps, story writing apps, pintrest, and many many games. We don’t have to make small talk with the strangers around us while waiting to renew our drivers’ licence. Because we have our phones. And with a flick or two we can disappear into another world until we are at the front of the queue.
The grade7’s did an exercise at school, answering questions related to whether they are addicted to their phones or not. Cailin said her results showed that she wasn’t. (I didn’t want to burst her bubble by reminding her that if one’s phone is taken away one can’t check it every 5 minutes)
“You are definitely addicted to your phone,”
she confidently informed me.
“Yes mommy, you are on your phone all the time,”
Jessica chirped from the backseat. I couldn’t even deny it, because, yes, I am on my phone a lot. I am inquisitive and need to know things. And when there is Wi-Fi – all the more exciting! We, as parents, have to lead by example. Right? Right….
Baby steps, I decided. I am not one of those dieters who can go cold turkey and cut out starch, sugar, chicken without skin, watermelon, spaghetti bolognaise, gin and tonic, all at once. So, I started by ignoring my beeps and tweets and rings while helping the girls with homework. (Well done me) And I sometimes remember to put my phone away after 19:00. (Remember, baby steps). And I ignore Facebook first thing in the morning. I don’t have to be the first one to see, and forward, Jennifer Lawrence’s dress she wore to the Oscar’s…
So who is with me on this baby steps adventure?