Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts While Trying to Catch a Glimpse of the Perseids Meteor Shower

Perseids Meteor Shower
I accidentally dropped my 8-month old smartphone today. And while the world stopped for a few seconds as I tried to do a Matrix-style slow-mo dive in an awkward attempt to catch it (failing miserably at the same time) all I could think about after was "Fuck I hope my phone's okay!"

I immediately grabbed my phone from the ground and dreaded the thought that the internals might have stopped working. I was glad to find out that the protective skin made of rubber somehow prevented the touchscreen glass from shattering; breathing a sigh of relief. Before I proceed, allow me to thank cheapo products mass produced in China. That was $5USD well spent on some knock-off phone cover.

I was sad to see the phone did turn off and as I sat on my haunches oblivious of the dirt and soil. I stared at this black screen of nothingness which I have not seen for a very long time. The thought that I may not have a phone (smartphone) for the next few days hit me. As I was pushing the power button and saying a prayer to St. Vidicone of Cathode, patron saint of Electronics (Yes, there is really one) I realized that I have become so reliant on technology and electronics for the better half of my adult life. Come to think of it, I can't recall ever turning my phone off the moment I bought it.

My phone was the only thing that could distract me from other things I deemed important. I respond to its beeps like a frantic mother immediately checking on my new born the moment it starts to make a sound. My baby, dead in the palm of my hands… I have not been careful enough!
I wanted to cry. It was not turning on. Then my friend placed his consoling hand on my shoulder and told me to take out the battery and put it back in again and charge it. So, reluctantly I did.

I tried to act like nothing happened and be cool. Some things needed to be finished so I have a few hours of distraction that lay before me. No vibrations in my pocket, no notifications to check, no emails to answer, no text or Viber messages to respond to. Freedom!

As the tasks were slowly completed one by one and we finally were able to sit down and relax instinctively I reached for my phone only to be reminded again that it’s charging and it may not power up. I was forced to sit up and do something I’ve never done in a long time, nothing. And by doing nothing I was able to observe my surroundings and be attuned to what is happening around me.
Cricket sounds, the breeze blowing gently on my skin, the smell of air, soft humming sounds of my friends as they lay down on the earth bed and tried to relax. I watched leaves rustling in the wind, I watched the clouds slowly move behind a pale moon, I watched other people's feet.

I realized that I really like having this time to myself. It helped me compose my thoughts. This does not mean I am giving up on technology though. It’s just that having no phone, no connection to social media made me more aware of my thoughts, the thoughts that exist and keep playing in my head even if there is no one around to hear of it. I missed not being so wired and connected. The appeal of mobile phones (smart or not) is its ability to make us be reachable 24/7 but as soon as we were, it demanded from us immediate responses. And if we cannot reply within the appropriate time we are either perceived as rude or purposely ignoring. Worst case scenario, loved ones might thing something terrible has happened to us. Not being able to use my phone was probably a nudge that a change in behavior was needed with regards to this whole being connected with the world thing. Yes I miss my baby, my informant, my paramour! But it made me be reacquainted with myself. (Hello there stranger, long time no see.)

Then my friend called me and told me the battery’s full. I immediately got up, took the phone off the charger, pushed the power button again (this time not so hopeful that it will turn on) but lo and behold! It turned back on, chirped its familiar start-up beat, and I am once again reunited with my baby.

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