You know how they say loss comes in threes?
A few weeks ago, I left my beloved, light blue, dog-patterned, S’well water bottle at my office. When I got to my car and realized I had left it in our lobby, I shrugged and thought, “Eh, I’ll get it tomorrow.” Tomorrow came and my water bottle was not where I left it. Apparently adults steal water bottles. Put one in the loss column.
A few days after that, I was sitting in traffic and absentmindedly reached for something to play with. What I reached for—a keychain with my name on it (which is rare!) that spins to reveal two different Minions on either side—was not dangling from the ignition! It looks like it had somehow gotten dislodged from the key ring. Another blow to my whimsical fancies. I take yet another L.
The weekend after Labor Day, I went to Vegas with my ladies—my phone in hand ready to document every moment. On Friday night, we went to see Calvin Harris at Omnia Nightclub in Caesars Palace. At approximately 2 A.M., fellow Prompter, Erin Vail, asked me what time it was. I reached into my purse and discovered, to my horror, that my phone was not inside. Sometime between scream singing along to “Met You in the Summer” and throwing my head around to “Heads Will Roll,” some skeezeball stole my phone. And that brings us to unlucky No. 3… you win this round, universe.
It was incomprehensible. I was never away from my group. My phone was in a secure purse. I didn’t do anything wrong…
We looked everywhere we could think of and attempted to call it, but it went to voicemail.
Erin and I went back to Caesars to check with security again to see if they found my phone. They had about 5 phones on file, none of which was mine. When I asked what we should do next, the security guard got real with me…
Did the phone go straight to voicemail when you called it?
Truth time… you’re never going to see that phone again.
End scene. End tragedy. End it all.
I attempted to hold back my tears as we left the casino and headed back to our own. My phone was gone, and I was in Vegas. There was nothing left for me to do now… except to experience Vegas. So, I headed off to bottomless brunch.
Vegas is the stimulation capital of the world. It wouldn’t be that hard without a phone! Until it was…
At the pool: It was easy to be phoneless at the pool. There are dangers everywhere for a phone there. Who needs to look at a phone when you can bask in the sun and swim about, sipping frosè?
My friends: I love my friends, and we loved doing Vegas together! We ate; we drank; we danced; we gambled. Who needs to send texts when you have things to explore and human people to hang out with??
The drive home: It’s surprisingly easy to be phoneless on a 5-hour road trip. I get car sick… and it’s nice to sing along to music, chit chat, and brood while looking out the window without the compulsive urge to stare down at a screen.
Watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: My roommate had never seen it, and I never get tired of being swooped up by Peter Kavinsky (this was my fourth viewing). It’s nice to be able to give a movie your full attention in the comfort of your own home as opposed to the forcible separation in a movie theater.
No communication with my mom: It’s difficult when you talk to your mom basically everyday, and you have a lot to tell her about Vegas—like there’s a Seinfeld slot machine! I felt like I was going through withdrawal…. from not talking to my mommy… I swear that I am 25.
No Snapchat: I have a lot of friends who live on the East Coast, whose faces I enjoy seeing, but which I cannot see without a phone. With some of them I have also cultivated Snapchat streaks. Have you ever broken an over 100-day streak? It’s heartbreaking. How are you to maintain a streak without a phone?? (Answer: one of your gracious friends lets you log into your account on their phone.)
No Fantasy Football: That Sunday was the first of football, and I couldn’t check my fantasy lineup… (It turned out OK though. I won my game.)
No catch-up: You know when you get home from a long trip, and you just want to collapse onto the couch and veg and catch up on all the social media and friend gossip you missed? Yeah, can’t do that without a phone.
No alarm: It’s like suddenly you realize that your phone is everything when you can’t even wake up without it… My roommate had to wake me up on Monday morning the way my mom used to when I was in high school.
The thing about not having my phone was that it was a horrible situation, but once I accepted it, I was actually OK. More than OK. I was… relaxed. Not having a phone meant no responsibilities– no answering persistent texts, no keeping up with the Kardashians on Instagram, no mechanically checking my email. I was free to just be.
And as soon as my phone was back, so was my anxiety, because I was returning to the black hole of “things I’m missing out on” and peaking into all of the “life” I’m currently not living but that social media makes me feel like I should be.
So I now know that I need to allow myself space—to cleanse from technology and ease the addiction. And while I’m making some sweeping life changes, I should also probably get a watch. (Or a Fitbit that tells time because I missed being able to check my steps, which has somehow become a compulsion of mine, especially during extended excursions.)
I noticed that when I didn’t have my phone, I didn’t really know what to do with my hands. I caught myself clasping them at times. Like a phone is a shield against vulnerability, but I didn’t have that, so I had to rely on myself. I was literally holding my own hand. I also noticed that my mind was freer to wander—I had more space to mentally stretch because I wasn’t distracted. It was refreshing to have things be quiet enough to let my mind explore a little without getting cut off. It also helped not knowing what time it was (which is just how the fat cats in Vegas like it).
When we were in the car driving home from Vegas, I reached in the back to get a drink out of the cooler. As I guzzled my fruit punch Vitamin Water, I contemplated the cheeky question printed on its label and also one of my own:
Does a phone know when it’s dead?
Will I think about the phone I loved before my replacement?
I didn’t land on an answer before I went to the AT&T store on Monday afternoon, but when I got in my car with a new phone, “One Kiss” was playing on the radio.
I guess we’ll always have Calvin Harris.