I have never felt overly attached to whatever hunk of plastic that is my current cellphone however, whenever I forget my phone at home, I begin to feel twinges of anxiety. What if I get a flat tire? What if there is an emergency? What if Cara breaks up with her boyfriend and, I miss her text message? What if Bobby says hi and, he thinks I am blowing him off because I didn’t answer?
It is without my phone beside me that, I realize how much I unconsciously reach for it. I don’t really use my phone much except for email and texts but when I don’t have my phone with me, I realize the ridiculous amount of times per day that I click the unlock button just to check whether something needs to be responded to.
Five minutes. Click. Twenty minutes. Click. Five minutes. Click.
It’s like clicking the unlock button has become entwined in every part of my life. First thing when I wake up. Click. Leaving for work. Click. Sit down at my desk. Click. Come back from a meeting. Click. Click. Click. Click.
I have always been very conscious of avoiding the “phone security blanket” phenomenon and because of that, I always try to keep my phone away even in the most awkward social situations when scrolling through a screen seems easier than making eye contact or striking up a conversation.
However, despite this, I still feel anxiety when I leave my phone at home as if, despite being surrounded by other people, a landline, and a computer, I am stranded on a deserted island. It’s like when I unconsciously forget my phone (versus making a conscious decision to leave it), I feel like I am missing something important like an earring or a shoe.
Why is it that I feel such an attachment to this hunk of plastic? What causes us as humans to tie our emotions to such an easily replaceable piece of technology? Is it the idea that we are never really alone with this piece of plastic in our hands or does it point to something deeper about our growing hunger for instantaneous information?
Either way, a day without a phone can feel both anxious and liberating, reminding me how much power I unconsciously assign a hunk of plastic.