As long as the tech geniuses continue to streamline and sterilize reality as we know it, the general population will continue to bury their faces in high-speed, Bluetooth-connected, thinner-than-last-year devices. I get it. Screens are hard to resist and real-time communication creates a sense of constant temptation. I no longer want to check my phone, I NEED to check my phone. Like junk food, drugs and porn, it takes willpower to resist. And there’s no real harm in scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, FatChat and FuckChat, right?
My problem with the whole thing is that I feel a genuine sense of disappointment when I get sucked into the weird, artificial world that doesn’t really exist beyond the palm of my hand. The routine makes me wish I had something better to do than wish I had something better to do. So I’ve been trying to spend my time looking and listening rather than thoughtlessly jumping from app to app.
I’ve started with baby steps. Like walking the dog and leaving the device behind—no camera only means one less forgettable photo of the dog. Or grabbing a cup of over-priced coffee with coworkers and making sure I have my wallet instead of my iPhone—no text from mom means I can pay attention to the people who are standing by live, in person. But the ultimate test has been public transportation—especially busses. An activity that normally begs for mindless distraction, I’ve been traveling the lonely miles sans cell phone.
And passing the time on these massive people movers is easier than you might think. After half-assed attempts at reading and writing, I found that I really enjoy looking out the window. It’s simple, slightly stupid and probably the cheapest form of entertainment I’ve found in the Bay Area. I make up stories about buildings, judge people as they text and drive and, most important, think about something besides my social media status.