I never thought losing my smartphone to the porcelain god would give me withdrawals.

I recently attended a concert in Madison, WI. I placed my phone in my back pocket to avoid carrying a purse and to have it easily accessible when I wanted to update my status and snap a few photos. Unfortunately, after a visit to the facilities and a horrifying plop, I knew that I was in trouble. 

I grabbed the phone as quickly as I could, and prematurely boasted of its super waterproof design on Facebook before the seepage finally reached the circuits and permanently froze the screen with an image reminiscent of Hal9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey

I never thought losing my smartphone to the porcelain god would give me withdrawals, but after speaking with the phone carrier, and receiving a brief lecture on why not to charge your phone after it’s been submerged in toilet water, I started to shake when I was informed that it would take about a week for me to get a new phone and had no option for a loaner.

Anxiety kicked in on day two and I became very curt with everyone.  Day three I couldn’t concentrate on simple tasks, and I was quite fidgety by the time day four rolled around. It amazed me how reliant I was on my phone — from keeping track of my shopping lists and appointments, to helping me get up in the morning. It even took me awhile to realize that my paper map wasn’t going to tell me where to go… I actually had to read the thing (a life skill everyone should have).

I felt lost and disconnected as I aimlessly roamed the streets and observed everyone else absorbed in their sleek, mobile devices. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was hard. While I do appreciate how quickly everything and everyone comes together through the advanced wireless technologies that are available, my no phone experience made me ask: Are we addicts?

Putting down a phone shouldn’t be comparable to quitting smoking. Would I have had the same conniption when it first plopped in the toilet if my phone didn’t contain my entire life on it? No. I wouldn’t have even stuck my hand in the water to save it from drowning in a public bathroom toilet.

While wireless technologies continue to advance and communicating in different environments becomes easier, in some cases it’s okay to just put down the phone and unplug from the grid. It’s hard at first, but you’ll be surprised at what you’ve been missing when you finally look up from the screen.

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