HOW GOING ON ERRANDS ONE DAY WITHOUT MY PHONE “CHANGED MY LIFE!”
Kit Rivers is a stand-up comedian and writer in Chicago, IL- she is currently eating a donut and continuing to be neurotic.
We get it. We are on our phones all the time. It’s annoying, self-indulgent-basically millennials are the worst! But don’t worry we are fucked anyways because the world is melting around us (seriously California is on fire like every day). And yet we are the only animal on earth whose survivor instinct doesn’t seem to want to kick in. So instead of doing anything to save ourselves we are actually going to speed up the process by continuing to pillage the earth and waste time looking at dumb validating articles like this. I mean don’t get me wrong I’m not doing anything useful either…I’m just saying.
But, I bring all this up not to bore you with the same introduction about our addictions to phones we already have memorized, (I mean we are addicted to them but that isn’t the point) but rather to offer a different explanation of why we are addicted. My story begins when I found myself one day without my phone- I know I have a tough life. Between my schedule and my location there was also no way to get to my phone until about ten hours later.
Now I should note I actually have always prided myself around friends about not using my phone that much. You would catch me saying things like “I’m not saying I don’t use my phone I’m just saying I’m a lot better than most people I know.” Seriously, it was like a point of pride for me, ask my friends- ASK THEM!
For example, I won’t get it out at a meal with friends, family or otherwise (unless of course you know I need to look up the name of …oo you know…that girl….that woman…sorry…that woman from that show…you know the show with that guy from…about the funerals). So unless it’s really important I don’t use it. Admittedly that is better than you or definitely people you know (because the bad parts of this article certainly don’t relate to you, just the parts where I validate that you ARE brave, and fierce BUT also sensitive and have a perfect pussy/dick and knack for whiskey).
Additionally, I never just get my phone out because I think I might have to look at someone. I prefer books anyways (See! I’m the hot, and smart one). I have plenty of friends who don’t actually get OFF the phone unless reality jukes its way into their line of vision and they are forced (eye roll) to deal with another human being.
I am connected though. I think I like Facebook the best because I am a Midwest (hip) mother of three- obviously. And I have Twitter but I never use it (unless I am particularly clever …) and at one point my brother made me get Instagram but I repeat I NEVER use it! Ok that statement wasn’t to be cool or interesting I just seriously NEVER use it and I’m tired of my friends thinking I’m ignoring them on there, I should delete it but I don’t know how because remember… I NEVER use it!!
All this is to say that when I left the house that day and almost defiantly said “Yea! Fuck you phone! I’m a down to earth (but not a hippie, you know just the right kind of sexy) gal! I can conquer this day without you!”
Seriously, just leaving my phone behind made me feel like my whole day might turn around. I seemed to think I might suddenly not have a desperate and horrifying fear of genuine interaction (because it wouldn’t be exactly how I wanted it to be, catered to my every like and dislike). I would just be able to go up to a homeless person and learn all about their life and struggles which would put everything into wonderful perspective. I would be able to see an old man crossing the street and help him to his final destination- I would actually talk to people with different lives and backgrounds and histories instead of taking a selfie with them and pretending I did!
Ok, maybe not like that but I did have a good feeling about the day. This feeling quickly went away when I realized the reality of my situation. I was not, in fact, the cool, in-touch girl. Every time I phantom reached for my pocket I realized I was as disgusting as the rest of you monsters! I needed it! I needed to check my mail- who knows maybe I would get THE BIG CALL today (whatever the fuck that was)! I was as simple and basic as the rest of you bitches.
This desperation I was feeling led me to ask the question well why do I want to check? I don’t really like reading statuses, most are ignorant or cute (so they distract me and that is wrong, I’m looking at you sister, with your cute damn baby)! I really don’t care to know what my best friend’s racist little brother’s snapchat story has to offer, so WHY?! I like nature, I like people watching so why must I check! Are we really just addicted?
I don’t think so. I mean we are addicted in the scientific sense of the word, but this isn’t a science article now is it? It’s the blog of a privileged millennial. This is about feelings. So I think we aren’t addicted in the sense that society talks about i.e. needing the likes, the approval, the sense of community and belonging, the constant validation. I think it is something different, something harder even to face than our own egos- of which we can accept being victims of.
We are bored. With ourselves. Our own existence. Our own thoughts. Our selfish endless monologue. If our lives are good we feel this compulsion to make up shit to be sad and mad about. And why are we bored? Because we have stopped doing anything for anybody else. We have stopped learning about each other in a real way, we would rather learn from the projections that people display of themselves (because those are always accurate right? We know you haven’t always been a Hawks fan Mike even though your status says “fuck bandwagon-ers!”)
Social media has put us all at arm’s length and now we only really have ourselves and what we are going to tell others about ourselves to deal with- and it’s fucking boring!!!! I’m TOO in tune with myself- I need a break – I need something, anything to let me know that I can think about someone or something else for just a second- and then I reach for my phone. It seems to be the only way we’ve learned to reach out to others. The only problem is we don’t realize that this false form of socialization might be precisely why it is so difficult to actually be social. To truly allow yourself to be a social human being you have to give up control of the situation. Facebook doesn’t make you do that, but humans do.
So, why don’t we try instead to get to know other people, to find ourselves without a phone for the day? Ask a stranger to help you with directions, or an employee about sizing charts (they might actually know more than Google). A day where you need to go inside a bank, talk to a teller, to look up at a barista as they do their job, where they constantly think “hey wouldn’t it be nice if someone treated me like a FUCKING PERSON IS IN FRONT OF THEM ( seriously, they aren’t robots, its rude, say hello)!
Put the phones down kids, it might actually change your life ;)