My iPhone and I are reunited.
It has taken me a little while to write this post, as although my iPhone and I are back together, we are rarely communicating before midday each day, and stopping at around 8pm every evening. A healthier relationship, I think.
During our month apart,
I looked at the world around me and spent time with my own thoughts (and did some hefty eavesdropping, other peoples conversations can be fascinating / incredibly mundane), whilst waiting for a friend at the pub, in the waiting room at the dentist and on the train.
I read more books and magazines - whilst waiting for friends, in waiting rooms, on the train.. The Week had a lot of airtime and so did Evelyn Waugh’s novels (why haven’t I read them before now?!)
I had conversations with actual people using my voice over the phone or in person. Text messages were short and sweet, ‘K, c u on Thurs eve at 6pm.’.
I used my watch to tell the time.
I had to be on time. No last-minute cancellations or changes. We are meeting at the pub on Thursday evening at 6pm. Or at least I am.
I had no idea what was happening in your life. Nope I didn’t know that you went to a party last night dressed as Buffy, went to Ibiza for two weeks, or got engaged.
I used my memory. No photos or screenshots as reminders, no looking anything up immediately. It did take a whole week to remember who wrote War of the Worlds but I got there eventually.
I got lost, only once. I looked up directions before leaving, wrote them down, and memorised the location. And I only rang Max in a panic, once.
(Interestingly, with no iPhone on me, Google didn’t know where I was, which was rather refreshing – no location suggestions.)
I also didn’t get lost down any internet holes. No celebrity stalking, no click bait. I have no idea how many children Rolling Stones have between them, nor was I aware that Ross from Friends had stolen beer from a supermarket.
I used public transport or cycled and walked everywhere. The night bus is still happily running. (Ok I did take one Uber home from a wedding, ordered by somebody else, thank you for putting up with my self-imposed digital inconvenience, Nick).
I used the things I already own. It turns out I have cookery books with recipes in them, many books I have never read, and a lot of clothes that I rarely wear.
I emailed a fair amount, but only between the hours of 9am and 5.30pm. Emails are nice and efficient, as people tend to reply to them.
And I felt in general, rather happily disconnected. No feeling of ‘needing’ to reply to a message or check my phone, or post an Instagram photo, and no ‘recording’ of my day to day. Instead I could engage with the digital world when I felt like it (not all that often it turns out).
I will admit, that, particularly without social media, I do feel I have drawn a blind over a portion of my existence that has, in some ways, been quite an integral part of my every day since the age of 17. I have muffled out my digital self and digital social life. Sometimes I get pangs – ‘What if they are having a party and have forgotten to invite me’ or ‘That photo would look great on Instagram’, but mostly I feel very happy, and definitely less anxious. Being back on WhatsApp and participating in groups has caused some of the old angst to surface, but I am engaging less, which I think is healthier.
Without Instagram I feel that perhaps I am not ‘on the pulse’. But friends’ recommendations have been wonderful – TV shows, new brands, restaurants to try out. Why scroll when you can simply speak with someone.
It is useful to have Google Maps back, and very nice indeed to have my audio books (thank goodness I can now find out what happens to Countess Olenska and Newland Archer). But otherwise, I am rarely using the Apps on my phone.
So hey! I’m back on my iPhone – and will still be blogging.
I also took some fun photos with my Pentax K1000 camera at High Beeches Garden using Velvia 50 film, during my digital time out - some for you to enjoy below.
The header image is a handbag by Paradise Row at Young British Designers