Open-Minded: Out of service
What it’s like to live without a phone for two weeks
Sophie Nulph is a freshman journalism major and writes “Open-Minded” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Sophie at email@example.com.
You open your phone after a long day of classes, homework and social-life drama. All you want in your life is to text your BFF, turn on the new Ariana Grande album and check Instagram for the 100th time that day.
But, as you hit your home screen, you get a pop-up message:
“Please login to iCloud account.”
You restart your phone, hoping it fixes the bugs. Nope, wrong. Dead wrong.
The white “Hello, Hola” start-up screen appears. Perfect. Your phone won’t connect to Wi-Fi anymore, all of your photos and contacts are deleted and none of your apps will open.
This was me. It’s been over two weeks since I’ve had a cell phone. To my surprise, it hasn’t been too bad. I have actually found it quite peaceful.
Not to be dramatic, but at first I thought I was going to die. Everything was gone. I had no access to Snapchat, Instagram or messaging whatsoever. What the heck was I supposed to do in between classes? Or on the bus? What was I supposed to do before bed and first thing when I woke up? What was going to be my alarm? How would I keep my Snapchat streaks? How would I prevent from making eye contact with people and talking to them in the elevators?
For all intents and purposes, my life was over. I was fully preparing myself for a meltdown.
The average American views their smartphone around , and I was forced to drop to zero. I was irritable and annoyed when I was with others who were on their phones constantly, and I was straight mad when someone asked me why I didn’t reply to their message. Was life even worth living?
The second week was even harder. Unlike the first week, where it was somewhat fun to be “detoxing,” it became inconvenient and irritating not having a phone. As an added bonus, the phone decided it didn’t even want to turn on anymore. Fun!
I still carry it around just because it holds all of my cards in the back of it. More than anything I miss the quick checks of time when class is dragging on and the ability to use my phone calculator when I am scrambling to use two meal swipes at the convenience store before they close.
Despite all of this, I am here to report I am alive and still semi-well. I have to give mad props to my boyfriend for putting up with me this whole time. We communicate through Google Hangout, and I ask him to text something to the person I need to talk to while he reports back to me what they replied.
While I do miss Snapchat, one-click Instagram and my Words With Friends games, not having my phone was an eye-opening experience. I still access social media a few times a day on my laptop, but my social media has been restricted to Facebook and the computer version of Instagram. I have never felt so close to my aunts until I saw their Facebook posts every day. They really love dogs.
I realized how much I hide behind my phone. In any situation that I feel uncomfortable, vulnerable or even bored, my fall back becomes checking texts, social media and occasionally even my photos when I have already checked the first two.
I see everyone around me on their phone and surprisingly I don’t feel jealous. Instead, I feel insecure that I don’t have my barrier like everyone else. I can’t ward off eye contact or a stranger coming up to me in the Atrium asking if I’m interested in a club they’re endorsing.
Despite this insecurity, it has been peaceful without the constant buzzing of texts. It forces me to use my time in other ways. I am actually reading a book. Yes, a paper book!
This is not me saying I could ever live without a phone. I had a dream last night that my parents made me get a flip phone next, what a nightmare. What I am saying is that not having a phone has not been as bad as I thought, and my life is not over. Yet.
This has not been a revolutionizing experience, and I am not a “new and improved” Sophie, but it has been a fun experiment.
I’m ready for the end, though. Anyone got a spare, working iPhone?