One summer weekend, my husband and I decided to go take spend some time together, away from our everyday life. We have two kids, and between them and our careers, we rarely have those moments where we are just the two of us; my husband and me. For us to spend time together, we had to look for a place that was absent of all the distractions that keep us away from each other. That meant first and foremost, of course, had to leave our cell phones behind. We noticed that a lot of the time, we spent time on our cell phones. My husbands job, for instance, requires him to be in constant contact with his colleagues. He has to constantly check-in to get progress reports or give progress reports. Me, on the other hand, I spend quite a bit of time on my mobile phone too; checking in with the babysitter, catching up with my classmates, or talking to colleagues from work.
On that weekend, we made a resolution to leave our phones behind, after informing our contacts that we would be available over the weekend. We also gave our babysitter our hotel room phone number so that she could reach us in case there was an emergency. In hindsight, giving the babysitter our hotel room phone number was in effect a sign that we could never really do away without our cell phones. They give us peace of mind knowing that no matter where you are, you could always get information on what was going on. Without them, we felt a bit uneasy and so we had to find a way for our babysitter to reach us.
When we got to the hotel on Friday evening, everything went according to plan. We had dinner, and for the first time in a long while, it was not interrupted by the ring or a message notification. It was wonderful. After dinner, we retired to our room and woke up on Saturday morning. I distinctly remember myself searching for my cell phone during the first groggy moments after waking up, only to realize I left it at home. I almost laughed at myself, but then I had a moment of insight. My life was tired to my cell phone. Every morning, when I wake up, I check my mobile phone for voicemails, emails, and any other important information. I also make a point of catching up on the news on my favorite mobile news network, and then check my schedule on my to-do-list application. That Saturday morning was of course disorienting because I was so used to the programmatic directions offered by my phone. I had structured my entire existence on that device, and without it, I felt lost.
Over breakfast, I could tell that my husband was feeling the same uneasiness I felt earlier. He constantly fidgeted on his seat, and he did not take long to suggest that we call home and check on how the kids were doing. We called our house phone and chatted with the babysitter for a few minutes. Everything was fine, but we were both uneasy without our mobile phones. Our stay, a brief one, at the hotel swimming pool did not help matters. We say people around us on their mobile devices texting, talking, and fidgeting with them so much so that our uneasiness came to the surface. We realized that cell phones, although we considered them a distraction, were like a fifth limb we could never live without.
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