My Phone Is My Best Friend
Being addicted to my phone is something that actually really bothers me. No, I'm serious. It does. Most of the time, I don't think about it since it's become such an integral part of every second of my fucking life. But there are moments in which I catch myself refreshing my Instagram feed mere SECONDS after I just checked it, and wondering why there's nothing new for me to see or why my picture hasn't gotten any likes yet. And it's like oh, that's right — because I literally just checked it. It's disgusting, honestly. It makes me hate myself. The reason this topic even came to mind was because, over the weekend, as I was attempting to take a leisurely walk with both my 13-pound dog and my best friend's 40-pound dog who I was babysitting ("attempting" because OMG HOW DO YOU PEOPLE WALK DOGS THAT ARE 40+ POUNDS?!), I was listening to my favorite female comedian's podcast. Lauren Lapkus is magical on her own, but when she gets together with her improv group, The Wild Horses, that magic is plussed up in a big way. For their latest project together, the group has crafted a podcast called "The Perspective," in which they talk to a guest about legitimate shit then take that shit and turn it into improv gold.
On this particular episode that Lauren so kindly featured for free on her own podcast "With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus," the girls and their guest talked a lot about being completely obsessed with their phones. And I related to it so hard, I was half-yelling "YES! OMG ME TOO!" to no one out loud in my neighborhood during my dog-walk-gone-wrong.
At one point their guest, Kate Berlant, commented: "It's like exotic if I don't take my phone to the bathroom. I'm like... wow. It's so pathetic."
Lapkus chimed in after that: "I'm obsessed with trying not to be on my phone. And I don't try ever, really. I feel very frustrated by my obsession with it and like I don't want to be on it."
Erin Whitehead (one of the Wild Horses) spoke so much truth, it made me sick: "I was so upset with my behavior around my phone. Like it truly felt addictive. I would not wanna look at it and I'd put my phone down, and then without realizing it, be checking all my apps again and be like 'why is nothing new?' And it was because I checked it 20 seconds ago. And that happens all day."
Stephanie Allynne made the worst/best saddest point yet: "It's just that world of instant gratification and then it's all fleeting. Like, there's nothing lasting."
And Lapkus hit the nail on the head with this commentary: "I love reading. And I feel like, when I get into a good book, I do wanna get in bed and read it but... then I get in bed and just get the fuck on the phone. It's just disgusting."
I could NOT agree with their self-inflicted laments more, and I know I'm not the only phone addict who feels this way. Some time in the past few years, there was a shift. Even when smartphones had already welcomed themselves into our lives, there was still some hope. We were still so new to each other; we didn't completely rely on them. Not yet. We were still unaware of how much power they truly held — er, how much power we held by holding them? All we knew at first was that things looked a lot prettier and blue text bubbles acted as our new caste system: "Oh. She still has green text bubbles? PEASANT."
But as time has gone on and technology has gotten better and there really is literally an app for everything, we've gone from hiding behind our phones to practically warping into our phones. Your phone and you — you're one in the same. You are it and it is you. We are all just phones with feet. Devices that can walk. No one isn't not on their phone all the time. Maybe doctors or teachers or really anyone without a traditional cubical job. Maybe. But even then... I'm sure they find ways to check it more often than not. Bosses and authoritative figures alike tried for a long time to make us feel guilty about cell phone usage. They tried to suggest we not be on our phones as much or not bring it to meetings. In school, your cell phone may have even been "taken up" by a teacher if you were caught on it. For a long time, there was a quiet resistance to allowing this phone-attachment become the norm. Society tried. It really did.
Alas, the overwhelming power of NOWNOWNOW ultimately won. I need to check email NOW. I need to respond to that email NOW. I need to post this on Instagram NOW. I need to see how many likes it's already gotten NOW. I need to check-in to this restaurant NOW. I need to see how many have seen that I checked-in and like what I'm doing NOW. I need to pull up 12 funny videos to show you NOW. RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!
And we're ALL guilty of it. In fact, perhaps the most depressing truth within this entire rant is that it's actually more abnormal for someone to not have their phone on their person at all times of the day. To not be on every social media platform available to mankind. To not respond to a text or email within five minutes. We cock our heads like dogs at these people. We raise eyebrows at them. We roll eyes at them. We think/say, "Where the fuck is _____? Yeah right that he/she hasn't checked his/her phone within the last five minutes. Bullshit." Nowadays, if you take a half-hour to respond to me, I've already assumed you're ignoring me/playing games with me/I'm not important to you. You CLEARLY have a personal vendetta against me and it's obvious.
Well? I'm just speaking the truth, guys.
I don't have a solution for it. I don't even have a suggestion for a solution for it. I'm just admitting that I am fully aware of what I am and what my phone has made me become. In a world that becomes more disconnected every day with every newly-introduced bit of technology, we are only watering the problem like a plant that's growing to Godzilla-like levels.
Our phones have become our best friends. Our go-tos. Our confidants. We tell it everything with the passwords we store and the naked selfies we take. It knows our deepest, darkest google searches. Our strange obsession with that one girl on Instagram that we stalk from afar. We've never met anyone else as entertaining as our phone. It lights up our life, both literally and figuratively. We're attached at the hip. It watches movies and TV shows with us, often distracting us to the point of having to rewind because we missed a big scene by playing on our silly phone. We treat it like an exciting and newfound romantic interest for whom we only have eyes for. When we're the most alone a human can be, we never truly feel that alone. Not really. Because we have our phone who is ready and eager to clue us into whose child is doing what, how much plastic surgery our graduating class has had, who got engaged and who is suddenly mysteriously single again. It prompts us to take "What ethnic food group are you?" quizzes that entertain us for hours. It tells us what to wear tomorrow (weather). It wakes us up (clock). It's never not in the mood to take an emotionally disturbing trip down memory lane (camera roll).
Like I said, I don't have any solid suggestions as to how to fix the problem. Or at least help it. Sure we, as a mass population, could ban together to revolt against our best friends. But I think the problem is that we don't really want to. We love our best friends. We depend on them. They're our lifeline. They're our everything. We're in too deep now and only getting deeper. We hate it and we love it. We're addicted to the feeling of knowing we're addicted but not being able to go without.
We're sick, y'all. We're a sick and twisted breed.