5 Things My iPhone Has Taken From Me

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Rock bottom is feeling your heartbeat quicken every time your iPhone dings or checking your Facebook wall in the middle of traffic. Rock bottom is being wide awake at 3:43 AM, chin compressed between the palms of your hands, waiting for your Kim Kardashian: Hollywood energy bar to re-fill.
Unbeknownst to the majority of iPhone users, hidden in that lengthy “Terms and Conditions” page is an agreement to sacrifice a small portion of your brain to the Apple Gods. The worst part is that you don’t really realize that it’s gone until your phone dies or you forget it in your car. In a slightly drunken moment of clarity, I was able to inventory all of the missing chunks of consciousness I seem to have unwittingly signed over to my phone:

1. I can no longer do simple math in my head.

We’ve all been there — paying for something in cash and trying to quickly calculate how much change you should receive. Or getting your bill at a restaurant and trying to decide how much to tip (Okay, 15% of 27 is like one dollar less than 20% of 27 which is the same as 27 divided by 5 which is…?). My personal electronic smart-ass seems to beckon me: “Now Jordan, sweet Jordan, you know you can’t figure it out on your own — that’s why I’m here. The answer is just 1 swipe and 3 taps away. Come :)”

“No!” I internally fight, “I can do this! I just have to carry the 7 back to the 4…or was it 5? A 25 dollar tip? That can’t be right…” This little battle continues until I realize that my failed mental gymnastics have projected onto my face and that my entire table is staring at me. Defeated and shamed into submission, I open the calculator app.

2. My brain is now located outside of my body.

Surviving the iPhone age requires a certain reliance on automation, and being comfortable with the fact that your brain is an organizational disaster. I mean, where would I be without the Reminders app? “Brave New World” would still be 7 months overdue, and Grandma would’ve never received her annual “Happy birthday!…No, I don’t have a girlfriend.” I guess I’m okay with it.

3. Directionally, I am a complete and utter mess.

There I was, driving down I-495 in the pouring rain, iPhone completely dead, missing my exit for the literal 5th time when I realized that I’m always getting lost without my phone. This, combined with the deadly sin of Pride, usually has me ending up in the opposite direction of my destination. I’ve even faced the humiliation and instant judgment that accompanies the vociferous “Turn right onto M Street” in the middle of a busy sidewalk.

4. My free time and leisure are permanently linked to my phone.

Nothing ever waits for me on my email except for a Groupon notification or a message from the Obama administration asking for a “friendly donation,” but still, I feel the need to obsessively check every 5 freakin’ minutes. Mindless Instagram scrolling or virtual Scrabble usually accompanies any minor break in my day instead of “me time” for things like yoga or finding God. I’m an addict.

5. The art of waiting is dead.

I used to work at a retirement home and it would always baffle me how easily the residents (as we respectfully referred to them) were able to simply sit and wait. They had no Scrabble app with which to busy themselves, no one to text, not even a book — simply their own thoughts were enough to occupy themselves indefinitely. Props to the elderly — you are truly enlightened.

From this point on, I’m making the conscious effort to divorce myself from my iPhone and try to reclaim some of my lost gifts…even though I may need to multiply two large numbers for whatever reason (boredom?), or anxiously feel the need to remind myself to feed my dog. Come to think of it, I’m going on a road trip to Georgia pretty soon and probably want to know where I’m going…which means I should probably keep checking Groupon for any deals near Atlanta…hmm, maybe I’ll start next month. TC mark

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