I started out just like the rest of you. I’d heard it was fun all through middle school, but I didn’t take my first taste until I was a sweet 15 years old, and from that day forward, I was hooked. I loved it. I needed that connection, that instant gratification. It started to get worse and worse. My parents would lecture me and I would just tune them out, satisfying my needs at breakfast, during class, while with my friends, at my own high school graduation. I tried to keep it at a minimum when I went through recruitment – I was forced to downplay my insatiable need. All the time, it hemmed and hawed in the back of my mind. It was my security blanket, my metaphorical shield against the laters and losers of the world.
Then all of the sudden, fate intervened. In a fit of rage, induced by my own stupidity and the belief that midnight deadlines were preventing me from forming the personal and professional connections that I would require out in the real world, I took a step off a curb and killed the thing that had been my beacon of sanity all those long years. It slipped from my hand, hit the ground and went up in smoke. My phone was completely, totally and 1000 pieces broken.
After a tearful call to my father, during which I tactfully explained how the incident that shattered my six hundred dollar phone was obviously the fault of the liberal media, the extreme mental pressure put on students in higher education or anyone but me, he agreed to buy me a replacement. In two weeks, after my monthly billing period was up. The idea of being away from my baby for those weeks brought even more tears to my eyes. How was I supposed to go on without the constant companionship of “celly,” the featured act of my Facebook status updates from 2009 onward?
The first week was the hardest. I would carry around a shattered, worthless phone in my purse, and pull it out to check constantly. I felt like I was missing out on everything: how could I know where my ex-boyfriend was hanging out if I couldn’t casually check his Snapchat story? Would I lose all my hard-earned Twitter followers if I stayed silent for so long? Would everyone I ever met forget I existed and leave me to die in a house with four cats? Even though people still kept up to date with what was happening in the GroupMe with my favorite fraternity, none of it really stuck. Yeah, I knew Brad was acting like a fuckboy and had muted himself to avoid asking Becky to formal, but I wasn’t able to experience it. Drama loses all its appeal when you only get to hear about it after everyone has calmed down and is ready to makes amends. I was taking more L’s than Janet Jackson’s left boob during 2004.
But once I was clean for a week, my whole personality changed. Instead of being my normal-late ass self, I showed up to shit on time. I watched an episode of Pretty Little Liars and sort of understood the plot. I used the bullshit expensive watch I insisted I needed when #armcandy was in to tell someone the time. I became a better person. When the barista who I made out with the night before pretended not to know me, I only briefly considered “accidentally” pouring my coffee on his hand. Miraculously, my skin cleared up and I managed to get more than five hours of sleep.
As the self-proclaimed “worst person I have ever met,” I was shocked to find that, at dinner with my friends, these bitches didn’t even pay attention to each other. Passive aggressive comments about strangers social media and mundane discussion of which guys on the Bachelorette should leave to become dancers on a Clay Aiken world tour. As the self-proclaimed “worst person I have ever met” I was shocked and offended. Were these girls trying to steal my crown? Apparently, it was never me at all. It’s been my phone this whole time.
Now, I harumpf at people who use their phones constantly. There is no reason to take ten Snapchats of an iced coffee, because all iced coffee looks exactly the same. Why take 500 shots of the exact same pose when the plan is to edit them anyway? I honestly do not care that the line at the bank is “sooooo long” because the teller “is literally the human version of a broken maple syrup tap.” Just go to the ATM like a normal hungover adult!
Being without a phone didn’t teach me how to live like I’m from the 1930s and still need a man to escort me to the grocery store, but I did realize I don’t need it like a necrophiliac needs to own property near a cemetery. I can go hours without talking to my friends. I only take two, maybe three shots of the same picture, and that’s because I am a chronic eye closer. I only posted my last Snapchat story because the geotag was really cool. But even I’m not perfect. As soon as I got my new phone, I immediately insisted that my friends send me pics from the weekend so I could edit them into oblivion and pretend that yes, my arms are that skinny..