Leigh and Chris stood in the kitchen, staring in stunned disbelief. The look in their eyes revealed genuine confusion. Together they were witnessing this shockingly incomprehensible event.
Depressing the power-button to turn off my Apple iPhone, I announced, “That’s it! I’m not taking my phone to Ireland!”
I swipe the red arrow on the screen, completing the final step to shutting down the device, and place it in the glass bowl where the bananas typically sit.
It had easily been ten or twelve years since I had intentionally left my cell phone at home. Even when traveling abroad or on an outdoor adventure trip, I always carry “my brain”, using it until the last possible moment,and then turning it back on the minute I get service at the end of the trip. It is very important I stay connected and accessible. I am “that guy” that covertly powers up my phone between my legs as the the aircraft makes its final descent; I want to be sure that puppy is up and receiving messages the millisecond I can legally do so. Maybe a minute before.
It is utterly unbearable for me to contemplate the economic and spiritual implications of a world that does not have immediate 3G access to me. Thus, my bride and son, the people who’ve had to endure me in an often frighteningly up-close-and-personal basis, were visibly shaken by not only the pronouncement, but by my actual ‘unplugging’ from the universe.
Equally as earth-shattering is the wristwatch I am wearing. Since my puka shell and faux tiger-tooth necklaces of the 70’s, I’ve never really been a jewelry kind of guy. The advent of cellphones, in my mind, made watches redundant. As it has also been 10 or 12 years since I had sported a timepiece, Chris said, “It is so weird to see you with a watch on.”
Earlier I had dug out one of my watches, a rugged looking Swiss Army model Leigh had given me a couple decades ago. The second hand wasn’t moving. I couldn’t remember if I had to manually wind it, or “just shake it” to get it running. Neither method worked. Then Leigh reminded me of one last errand I needed to run; go have the battery replaced. “Battery?”
Pulling out of the neighborhood, I thought ( in a bad Irish accent), “Twelve fekking days with no cell phone. Are you nuts?”
Almost immediately, the soul-crushing cyber silence evolved into post-partum depression. My hands were shaky, beads of sweat appeared on my brow; I felt queasy. I kept glancing at my watch, hoping this was a dream and somehow I’d gone ‘Dick Tracy’ and I could Google stuff on my watch. Nothing.
I thought my Outward Bound experiences were behind me; clearly, 12 days of no cell phone; 12 days of no Coldplay’s ‘Clocks’ ringtone; 12 days of no immediate Internet access to secure answers to pertinent random questions that flit through my brain. This phone-less vacation thing is not for sissies!
How will I ever survive? How will the world survive? Why do I need glasses to read the date on my watch?
If only I had my phone, I could Google these questions. I’m not sure I’ll make it; I’m not sure you’ll make it. But if we both survive my cellphone-less holiday, I suspect well be stronger for it. As soon as I retrieve my Apple from the banana bowl, the closer to normal we’ll both be.