Friday, April 19, 2013

One Month Sans Cell Phone

The Cell Phone Thief

Exactly one month ago, on the way to a meeting, I got out of the cab, slammed the door shut, realized my iPhone had fallen out of my jacket in the cab a moment earlier, and watch them both speed away into the distance.  Since I hate the sound of a ringing phone, my phone lived on silent, so the cabbie didn't pick up when I called from a friend's cell a few moments later.

I did everything I was supposed to - I kept the receipt, called the garage, even went out to the actual garage (okay - it happened to only be two blocks from my apartment).  I put my phone on lost mode, made sure that a message with Rafael's number showed up whenever it was turned on, and then waited for the good Samaritan who found my phone to get in touch with me.

But that good Samaritan turned out to be more of an Adam Tiler.  Every few days, my computer would buzz, indicating that my phone had been turned on.  It even displayed a map, showing where my phone had been for those precious moments it had been allowed consciousness.  I got to track my stolen phone's whereabouts through New York City.  I imagined it asking it captors to kindly let it out for a brief stroll along Riverside Park, after which they sped over to Spanish Harlem, where it spent a few days on 108th St and 2nd Ave, close to one of my favorite tacquerias.  In all of its adventures, my phone never left the island, but really, I didn't blame it.

A day after I lost my phone, I went on a week-long retreat to the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center to finish up teaching my Advanced Directing class for NTI but mostly, to spend a week writing the final draft of my book.  I decided not to replace it before I left, figuring that the tranquility its absence would afford me would be good for finishing the book.  I was right.

Save $200

I go back to the Big Apple on March 28th, and begrudgingly trudged into the Big Apple Store, where I was told that if I waited until April 13th, my annual rebate discount thing would kick in, and I would save $200 on the iPhone 5.  It was the sign I needed.  I decided to spend two weeks sans cell phone in the big city.

It was amazing.

I was so amazing, one week after my rebate date, I still don't have a phone.  And although I feel the experiment coming to an end (I got into rehearsals next week for my PARADISE LOST project and think that it would sorta be irresponsible not to get a phone before that), I have to report honestly to you, loyal readers:

I didn't miss my phone at all.  I've never been happier. 

Here are a list of times I reached for my phone to realize I didn't have it:

1) Every five minutes, to verify that five minutes had passed since the last time I'd checked.

2)  Every time the person I was with got up and went to the bathroom.

3)  Every time I left the person I was with to go to the bathroom.

4)  Every time I heard someone else's iPhone text alert bell-ring-ping thing go off.  I swear to God, the Pavlovian reaction I've developed to that little sound is down right maniacal.

5)  To quadruple-check the address of the place I was supposed to meet someone.

6)  When someone was late to meet me.

7)  Every time I thought about using one of those apps that seemed so great when I downloaded it and like I would just it all the time but then I realized it was just sort of annoying.

The amazing thing was discovering how many times we use our phones unnecessarily.  When someone was ten minutes late to meet, I didn't actually need a text telling me that.  I just waited.

When I was late meeting some friends because I couldn't remember if Fonda (best Mexican in New York) was on Ave A or B (it's B, fyi) and I couldn't check on any of the five thousand map apps,   they just waited for me.

Every thing was fine.  There were no crises.

I hope that after I get that stupid cell phone today, I will be able to retain the lessons I've learned while we were apart.  I hope I'll be able to break the cycle of abuse that we enact on each other, me depending on it far too much, it enabling my mania.  But I doubt it.

It seems innocuous - why not check your email when left alone in a restaurant for three minutes?  Why not shoot off that text as the bus you're on lumbers up 10th Ave?  Why not catch up on those articles in The Times while you're waiting for the subway?

But these individual moments add up, culminating in shattering our attention spans.  We don't need to be able to communicate nearly as much as our phones allow us to.  Now, when I see people emerge from the subway and anxiously check to see if anyone had emailed them in the twelve minutes they were underground, as I always did, I think the same thing when I see people smoking: slave.

I want to write about two more things - they have no direct relationship to having lost my cell phone.

1)  Today will be my fourth day on a liquid diet.  I woke up on Tuesday, decided I felt disgusting, and began juicing.  Here's what my intake basically looks like:

Breakfast - Green Juice: Kale, spinach, parsley, celery, green apple, lemon
Lunch - Orange Juice: Carrot, beets, lemon, ginger
Afternoon Snack - Smoothie: bananas, strawberries, home-made almond milk
Dinner: Home made beefstock.

The first day was hard and I was headache-y.  Since then, I have felt euphoric.  Concentrating on one thing for extended amounts of time ain't the easiest thing in the world, but I led a three-hour meeting yesterday.  And I played soccer.  I don't think I could rehearse a play like this, since I'm tingling and semi-hallucinating the way I always imagined LSD would make me.

2)  My Paradise Lost Project has raised over 7700 dollars!  Our goal is 10000 and if you're one of those people whose thought about kicking in but haven't yet, we've only got a week to go.  The time is now!  Carpe diem!  Give me your money!

No comments:

Post a Comment