Confession: I cannot stop checking phone, and I hate it.
I can’t remember the last time I was able to carry a full conversation with someone without checking my phone. It was never urgent, either. It’s never been a situation where I immediately needed to know the time that very second, or where I was waiting for a life-changing call. I never had a good reason to physically break eye contact with a person who was right in front of me to look at my pocket screen. I just couldn’t stop myself from doing it.
People know what I’m talking about—that urge to keep checking the screen despite not hearing a ping, a vibration, or some other plea for attention. The feeling is just this silent nagging, the way a little kid tugs at their mother’s shirt with pleading eyes. There is no excuse. It’s become a habit, like a tic one gets in between sentences. I know people do it, because I do it too. I don’t blame them. In fact I am not the least bit offended because I completely understand. It’s hard to stop.
Here’s another situation where this becomes a problem: I am ready for bed, my phone is charging (no further than my pink bedside table) and it is switched into silent mode. My eyes are closed, and waves of sleepy nothingness wash over me and then—there it is. Just as I am about to fall asleep, there is a convincing thought that checking tomorrow’s weather this very moment would somehow be useful. Or—there it is, the seductive thought that suggests re-reading a previously received text message hours ago might really help me understand what he meant by that. And of course, the worst: the idea that maybe—just maybe this time, I’ll have a little red flag on my Facebook app that validates my existence on social media. Hook, line and scroll scroll scroll.
Sex is no different and at this point, my partner gets it. So close, so close, so close, and—“Babe, where’s my phone?”
Yes, I’ve tried to turn off my phone. It only keeps me up at night. I am only left wondering what kind of emergency calls might I have blocked myself from that evening, or what if my friend suddenly needs me because, I don’t know, she was stranded and drunk in an elevator she didn’t recognize. I suppose, that in the end, these thoughts are all forms of catastrophizing what would’ve otherwise been another dull night and might even be kind of narcissistic because as it turns out, in reality, my presence (physical or otherwise) has never been solicited at 1AM.
What concerns me the most is of course is offending someone I am speaking to by suggesting my blank phone screen is much more interesting than their face. I am working on it. Or would like to think I am. Point blank, consider this my apology in advance if I check my phone in the middle of our conversation. I can only hope you (future person I speak to) understand, and not take the act personally. Here’s to bad habits.
In the end, I fall back to my default justification system, (which is terrible and tolerates way too many things) with a motto that reads: At least it’s not heroin.