I had a vacation day yesterday. Well, not exactly a vacation, but a vacation of sorts. I lost my phone the night before, and I spent yesterday, the whole day, without my phone. I ended up getting the phone back, but that’s a completely different story. The point is, I had no phone for AN ENTIRE DAY.
I was in San Francisco with my buddy Larry on Friday for Whisky Fest, an annual event for whiskey enthusiasts to taste a bunch of whiskey, and then to be followed by a baseball game on Saturday between the Giants and Padres at AT&T Park. Nice, right? We’ll pick up the story on Saturday.
I woke up phoneless around 9am. Normally the first thing I do in the morning when I wake is to check my phone for texts and emails. Doesn’t everyone? On this morning, I was stumbling around my hotel room in a daze looking for something to do. Eventually I opened my laptop and checked email on there. I had to do something, you know?
Surprisingly, after checking, I found that I hadn’t received any critical emails between 2am Friday night and 9am Saturday morning. Weird, huh?
Around 10am, Larry and I started walking to AT&T Park for the game. I hadn’t checked emails for an hour. An hour! My hand was twitching a little bit. You know how they say amputees still feel the need to scratch an itch on a missing limb, I kept feeling my pocket vibrating even though there was nothing there. I must have touched my front right pocket (that’s where I usually keep the phone) at least 10 times in the hour. On five of those times, I initially freaked out “where’s my phone!”, and then I caught myself and calmed down.
By 11am, I was asking Larry if I could borrow his phone to log into my email through his web browser. He slapped me and said no. Luckily. But I could be missing something important! Sundays from 10am to 11am are usually the time I get my emails from airlines offering special promotions, from Sports Chalet letting me know they have basketballs on sale, from Classmates.com asking me if I know “Debbie”, and from Petco letting me know I can get five bones for the price of four if I act now (!). I really need to check my email. Larry said no, again.
It’s Noon, and we’re at the ballpark. Not only had I not checked email yet, but the game still doesn’t start for another hour. Only one thing left to do. Eat. I can eat to take my mind off the missing phone. Two dogs, peanuts, and a beer. A mini-pizza. Popcorn. Okay, now it’s 12:15. What do I do?
Everywhere I look people are on their phones. Talking. Texting. Emailing. Laughing. Crying. Sharing moments. I was stuck actually talking to Larry. For a whole hour to kill the time before the game. I like Larry. He’s one of my best friends. But, seriously? Talking for a whole hour in a row without glancing down at my phone the entire time? Uh oh, my leg is vibrating again. I actually poured a little beer on my leg just to see if I could make it stop tingling. No luck.
Eventually Larry and I ran out of things to talk about. So, we just sat there in silence, looking around the incredible AT&T park, watching people, listening to the ballpark sounds, looking out at the beautiful San Francisco bay on an incredible sunny day, seeing kids with their parents, watching the ballplayers warm up, and just relaxing. Ah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need to check my email !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finally, mercifully, the game starts. Ah, maybe the game will make me forget about my phone. You know, I’ll get caught up in the action, and completely forget that I haven’t checked email for four friggin’ hours (!) Oh, yeah. This is baseball. There is no action! So, Larry and I started talking again, but I think we were telling the same stories over again. Yes, Larry, I know…the best music in the world came out of Massachusetts. Uh huh. I really miss my phone.
2pm. I think a half inning has gone by in the game by now. Larry is on his phone checking HIS email. Not a very good friend if you ask me. As a show of support, I think it’s only appropriate that he abstain from email checking as well. I ask him to start reading his emails to me. Is that like an alcoholic asking to smell other people’s drinks? He refuses to read his emails to me. I beg him for just one.
I’m doing a pretty good job by now of not thinking about emails and my phone. Maybe I’m even relaxing a little bit. Then, of course, I glance up at the scoreboard, and they’re displaying all the tweets about the Giants from people at the game. Happy tweets. Congratulatory tweets. People tweeting to the Giants. People tweeting to their friends. People tweeting on their phones. From five minutes ago. Two minutes ago. Right now as far as I know. But not me. The scoreboard shows none of MY tweets. For a really good reason. I’m not tweeting! I’m also not emailing. I’m also not texting. I’m not doing ANYTHING, except sitting there watching the game and not talking to Larry. What happened to my life?!
I see a 10 year old boy in the row in front of me. He has a phone. I see a grandmother in the row behind me. She has a phone. The stadium attendant working our aisle has a phone. I look out on the field, and I think I see the left fielder with a phone. Maybe. It’s only me without a phone. I get a little teary eyed. Larry asks me what’s wrong. I say “nothing”, because there’s no way he would understand. Massachusetts? Seriously?
4pm. The game mercifully ends. The Giants end up losing 9 – 3, but the Giants aren’t the biggest loser in the stadium. Not by a long shot. I’ve now gone seven waking hours without checking emails or texts. When you add to that the six hours I was sleeping without that phone, that’s 13 total hours. 13 Hours! Can you imagine? It’s like a lifetime. My leg is now vibrating all the time. I’m hearing phantom ringing everywhere. I’m covered in sweat. I’m begging Larry to let me use his web browser to check my email. He refuses again. Did I mention that I hate Massachusetts?
We walk back to the hotel. I’ve given up. You know what I’m doing on the walk back? That’s right. I’m walking. Just walking. And, back talking to Larry. He’s not a bad guy. The entire way back to the hotel, we’re walking and talking. At one point, a guy walking, looking down, and texting on his phone bumps into me. That was rude! What is it with these people?
I see a young child run into the street while his texting mom wasn’t paying attention. I save the kid. No big deal. No one actually noticed. I think you know why.
We get back to the hotel at around 5pm, where I need to kill about an hour. At 7pm, I have arranged to go get my phone from the guy who found it. Yes – a guy found my phone in a taxi cab from the night before and figured out a way to contact me.
7pm. I meet the guy and one of his friends at a restaurant down the street. He hands me the phone. I tell them about my day without the phone. His friend says “Wow. Being without your phone must have been liberating. “ Not exactly, but I didn’t feel like explaining it to him.
I walked out of the restaurant into the night. Phone securely back in my front right pocket. After walking a block, I felt like checking my email. But I didn’t. I flagged down a cab, and the cabbie drove me back to the hotel. A couple times on the drive back, I felt like checking email. But I didn’t. I’m in the hotel riding up the elevator to my room. I felt like checking email. But I didn’t. I went to sleep that night without checking my email again. I’d like to say I woke up the next morning and didn’t immediately run to the phone to check it. That would be inaccurate. However, it WOULD be accurate to say that being without my phone for a day changed me. I survived a day without my phone.
No phone. No problem. Clearly.