I had to take my iPhone into the Apple store yesterday to have the camera lens replaced. The camera kept slipping in and out of focus in the slow-motion function, and the image just wasn’t sharp for some reason. The phone was still under warranty, and they decided to simply replace the lens. Two hours… I would be without my phone for two hours.
I walked out into the streets, and was immediately reminded of that Gary Turk viral video called “Look Up”. My hands were empty. I was unconnected. And I looked up. I saw people. I made eye contact. I struck up random conversations with strangers. I got a cup of coffee for a homeless person. I saw doves take flight across the blue sky. And even though it hadn’t rained that day, there was a magical rainbow – no… a DOUBLE RAINBOW – stretching across the horizon. I was liberated.
It was horrible. There was nothing redeeming or liberating about those two hours. I did buy a homeless person a cup of coffee. I did strike up a conversation with a stranger. But that was when I had my phone. That was when I was taking a picture of my dog.
When I left the Apple store without my phone, I wasn’t empowered. I wasn’t liberated. I was naked. I was stressed. I wasn’t unplugged. I was disconnected. Broken.
I was late for my lunch date because the reminder popped up on my iPhone, except I was nowhere near it. I then went to Brit & Chips where we were supposed to meet, and sat there alone for 10 minutes thinking I was being stood up, or that my date had left. Not having my phone, I couldn’t call or email anyone. I went back to my office and checked my email on my laptop, only to see an email from my buddy saying that he was there, waiting for me in the back. So I walked the 2 minute walk from my office at Luxy to the Brit & Chips on De Maisonneuve (just up the street). But I still didn’t see my friend.
I then realized that I was at the wrong location. So I tried to google the address of the restaurant on McGill. Except I didn’t have my phone. I asked the waitress, and she gave me the address. I then tried to call for a taxi, but I didn’t have my phone. So I wandered the streets for a few minutes and hailed a cab.
On the way down, I saw Brad Pitt and Angelie Jolie kissing in the middle of the Old Port. I immediately rushed to grab my camera, but alas, I didn’t have my phone. Ok, that – like the doves and rainbow – didn’t happen. But you get my point.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am totally “addicted” to my phone. “Addicted in” the same way I am addicted to food and sleep. I need it to function. I need it to create. And that is what always irked me about that “Look Up” video (above and beyond the hypocrisy of using every tool of technology and social media to denounce both…).
My addiction to my iPhone (I’m nor sponsoring any brand – I am sure I would be equally addicted to my Samsung if that is what I were used to using) is not an obstacle to social living. It is not a hindrance to my interactions with other humans. On the contrary, it facilitates the human experience. It promotes connection. It nourishes creativity.
But do look up. Not out of a pretentious judgmental lecture. Just because I nearly saw a person get run over by a truck because he was distracted by his phone and walked through a red light.