Does your phone affect your relationships? Choose:
  • Huh? What was the question? Someone @replied me on Twitter just now.
  • My phone makes my relationships stronger because it adds more streams of communication and helps me stay in closer touch with people.
  • Yes, my friends accuse me of paying more attention to my phone than to them.
  • No. When I’m with humans, my phone is in my pocket.

I’m not sure where I land on today’s DPChallenge. I remember getting my first cellphone…one of those sweet Nokia boxes with an antenna that always broke off. You could change the case and I still recall the color I first got – rust. I was going off to college and Gma

The Nokia C3-01 cell phone
The Nokia C3-01 cell phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

offered to pay for it if I promised to call her. If she’d been able to predict the many random requests I would call her with – “what’s chicken bouillon? Where do I find it in the store?” “How can I tell if something is infected?” “What am I doing with my life?” – she might not have volunteered.

Since then, I’ve had the Razr, which is now extinct, and the Blackberry, which I still miss. I miss click-clacking on the keys and scrolling with that sweet button. And then upgraded to an iPhone a few years back.
We’ve had smartphone technology – the internet in our pockets – for over six years. Do you even remember life before then? These phones have become our lifelines to the world around us.
We instantly solve huge questions – Where is Belgium? What’s the weather like in San Diego tomorrow? What’s the score of the Giants game?
We instantly entertain small children with birds that attack pigs, apps that make your face look fat, or “running” through imaginary temples.
We imagine when we will be the fit, well-slept, 10,000 steps a day people we think we will turn into once we download the latest fitness app. We research everything from flights to restaurants to pet sitters. I lie to myself, saying “just one more pin” and then mindlessly scroll for another hour past midnight, knowing I’ll never make those darn mason jar crafts, anyway.
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

We keep in touch with international friends and reach out to celebrities and rant about anything like everyone is or isn’t watching, simply by typing and refreshing a tiny, glowing screen.

Our necks ache from bending over them. Our eyes glaze. Our fingers itch to check for any notifications if there is even the briefest lull in conversation.
Don’t get me wrong – I have SO much fun with my phone. I love tracking my mileage on runkeeper, learning about new places on yelp, and instagramming the heck out of my life.
But I also love when I’m forced to live without my phone. When nothing dings and no one lunges for their purse or pocket. When we have to wonder and debate the answer to those “big” questions like “What’s the capital of New Hampshire” “what can i make with leftover quinoa” and “is Brian Wilson single.” When we allow ourselves to try a restaurant without reading any reviews. Or surprised by the weather. Or sleep in without an alarm. Or, God forbid, ask a HUMAN for directions to somewhere.
I love when I have no idea what’s happened in someone’s life, and then when I see them, I don’t have to catch myself saying stupid things like “oh yeah, I saw that on facebook.” I can let them actually tell me their stories. And I can tell them mine. I hear their tone and see their facial expressions.
I’d like to think that I use my phone mostly to stay in touch with those I care about….and I do text and message friends far and near on a pretty regular basis, which is good for me, since despite being very social in person, I am very blasé about keeping in touch if you’re farther than three feet away from me.
more of this...less of telling you about it.
more of this…less of telling you about it.

But…When was the last time I stood in line and just looked around at things? Or went on a walk without headphones in and just enjoyed nature breathing around me? Or did something adventurous, said something funny, looked cute, or had drinks with friends without feeling the compulsive need to report to twitter/facebook/instagram/a texting buddy about it?

Smartphone, maybe. But I’ve been a dumb Rachel.
I’m going to try to be more “eyes-up” this week. Ignore my blog stats, facebook notifications, and instagram feed. I’ll drive places without checking the ETA like it’s a challenge I need to beat. I’ll stand in line and make conversation.
I’ll let myself be bored and just see what thoughts come up.
This will be really hard, but it could be really amazing.