. . . In reality, I spent the first few days silently lurking on Instagram, stalking pages of those I both love and despite, or playing game after game of Candy Crush. I still aimlessly scrolled through my newsfeed, or dash, reblogging posts I would actually laugh OUT LOUD at. I started, but still haven’t finished, GRR Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’. I still visited news-aggregate sites. I still clicked on videos. I still wasted time.
After a couple of days, however, things started to change. A few times, when walking to or from school, or in line at the hover, instead of taking out my phone to pass the time and ignore those around me I pretended to hate, I’d look around instead. At the world. At the people around me. Most of them looking at their phones.
Sometimes I’d catch the eye of an outsider like me. A freak without a phone. Adrift in this flood of bowed heads. A student, whose phone had probably died. A middle-aged man, probably waiting for a video to load. But these were few. The majority were stooped, staring statues, transfixed by the windows in their palms. Eventually, though, I started to feel less lost without my phone in my hand. It would only come out of my pocket to call someone, or more often, text someone. My eyes met the world more and more, at eye level.
I don’t understand why these unassuming little devices have so much power over us. Yes, they help us stay in contact with the outside world, but, ironically, they’re doing the exact opposite. We are alienating ourselves from others, retreating into ourselves from others, and losing the ability to communicate in person, face to face. We are limiting ourselves to those on our contact list, preventing us from seeing the rest of the world around us. I think we use them to avoid the confrontational nature of life. We don’t want to talk to someone, so we hide behind our phone, or we’re alone in public, so again hide in the hope that others assume we have friends as we’re obviously texting them.
I found it was mostly teenagers like us who were unable to escape that tiny gravity of connection that constantly drew us out of existence. Perhaps it’s because we don’t know any different. The phone has always been there, ingrained in our lives, then with new over-advertised updates, new IOS8 or new levels to Candy Crush, it remains exciting.
I enjoyed my time away. I understand that, in an increasingly technological world it is difficult to escape the chains of connectivity, but here’s a thought: what if the next fashionable trend is to become unlinked? Only reachable face to face?