I went to the pub without my phone the other night. The minute I parked my car, I realized: I left my phone on the table.
I live five minutes away. I thought, should I go get it?
And then I thought that would be stupid. In the time it would take me to go home, run upstairs, grab the phone, and come back, parking would have become a ridiculous issue. It's fine, I told myself. I don't need to have it.
When I sat down I was antsy, more fidgety than usual. The absence of phone was bothersome, a nearly physical thing. I kept looking for it, and it wasn't there.
Finally, I stopped looking for it and starting enjoying the fact that I was no longer wired in. I could fully enjoy the company I was keeping. I didn't have to keep glancing down to see if someone wanted to talk to me, needed something, had texted me. Instead, I had -- conversation. With actual, present people.
It was glorious.
I need my phone -- many of us do -- as a tool for my work. I need to be plugged in almost constantly. But "almost constantly" does not mean "always". I can be plugged in MOST of the time, but still have time for myself, when there will be no demanding chirps, no flashing message lights, no requests or questions or comments. Just ... me. And whoever I'm with. Uninterrupted and unencumbered by any devices intended to enhance communication but that I find more and more serve to do the exact opposite.
So if you need me on Monday nights -- or during my lunch hour, when I go to the gym? -- you're going to have to wait. Because I will be unplugged. And I will be enjoying it.