Taming the iPhone

three small children ready to hang one. the small girl (Moxie) is looking at her older brother (Micah) while her the small boy on the other side of her (Mac-Q) is wearing sunglasses

I had my iphone stolen 5 months ago, in Mexico. The replacement that I received couldn’t be activated in Mexico, so I went without.

Now, I’m a person that loved my iphone with a passion. I was tethered whenever, wherever. I’d try to be subtle about it, but I’d be sneaking peaks all.the.time. It drove Mikey nuts. It drove me nuts that it drove him nuts, because I mean, come ON! My iphone! The thing had all friends inside, just waiting to hang out with me. And when you live on a hill with your closest neighbors miles away, that means something.

It also had a camera I loved, plenty of apps to edit photos with. Books, magazines, blogs, vlogs, just about everything of interest for me. Oh, and did I already mention social media???!!! Namely, Facebook and Instagram??!!

When my iphone was stolen the first time, it hurt. I missed it hard, I missed it fiercely.

And then I got over it.

Then when all of our stuff was stolen, including my replacement iphone (that had never been activated), I hurt on an even deeper level with the loss of my computer and cameras. I didn’t care so much about the iphone, except for the hassle (and expense) it presented.

Then we came back to the US.

I have been BLOWN AWAY, you guys, by how utterly absorbed everyone in the Bay Area is with their clever little devices. I feel like everywhere I look, people are being sucked into the tiny screens where all their friends live and where fun photos hang out. It’s turning into a real parody, it’s as if some skit on SNL has come to life, but without the joke line. It’s just real, that’s all it is. It’s real and it’s so fucking sad.

You know what I see when I see everyone tethered? I see a bunch of people that are more involved in a pseudo reality than they might be with the flesh and blood person who is next to them. Facebook holds more thrall than the kids do, and Kim Kardashian is more fun to look at than the line at Costco.

I get it, I totally get it.

But it makes me really sad.

It makes me sad for our relationships, sad for our kids, sad for ourselves with that device being like a friend. I mean, it’s a device! A machine! It makes me sad for our creativity too.

You know, there is this hump of discomfort – I don’t think “hump” is the right word for it, but I can’t think of anything else right now – it’s this surge of something that’s just not fun. The line in Costco, for example. It’s long. The people are not particularly interesting. Nothing about it is very engaging. Boredom – that feeling of being trapped someplace where we don’t want to be while longing to be someplace else – sets in. It’s uncomfortable.

In the past 5 months that I’ve been without an iphone, I have had to sit through that discomfort, just let it be. I have found that after I get through that hump (or whatever you want to call it), everything becomes SO MUCH BETTER. My mind starts busting up with ideas. I think of things and angles I’d like to photograph, topics to write about, things that I appreciate about my life, things I want to change.

I got an iphone again.

I felt like I had to, I needed to have a point of contact and way for people to reach me. The apps sure don’t hurt either.

But as I sat there on a ferry ride last week and saw everyone around me so glued to their devices, even while this incredible beauty was all around us. I felt an urge to reach for my own device and, oh, I don’t know – check Facebook? Then I saw the bright faces of my children against the backdrop of the Bay Area and I felt something like chagrin that I had thought of checking Facebook at all with them right by me, so ready to be present with me, right here. Right now.

three small children ready to hang one. the small girl (Moxie) is looking at her older brother (Micah) while her the small boy on the other side of her (Mac-Q) is wearing sunglasses
three small children ready to hang one. the small girl (Moxie) is looking at her older brother (Micah) while her the small boy on the other side of her (Mac-Q) is wearing sunglasses

I want to be with my kids. They are the ones that are more important than anyone else; they are the 3 people that I personally brought into the world with my own body. And they are a hell of a lot of fun!

three exuberant children gleefully jump and smile in anticipation as they see the ferry approach (- not shown: the line is full of people on their iphones)
three exuberant children gleefully jump and smile in anticipation as they see the ferry approach (- not shown: the line is full of people on their iphones)
small girl ( Moxie) laughs while a devastatingly attractive older woman (- her Nana) smiles at her
small girl ( Moxie) laughs while a devastatingly attractive older woman (- her Nana) smiles at her

So why do I have the urge to turn on the iphone? Why do I feel that drive? Knowing what I know now, knowing how messed up it is, knowing that it ultimately does precious little for me? Oh but wait. Siri. Snapseed. iMovie. Hyperlapse. Voice Relay. Captioned Telephone. Facetime. Nah, I take that back: it does an awful lot for me.

Micah gazes out on the water
Micah gazes out on the water

I need to find a way to use it for the fantastic tool that it can provide, but without it controlling and consuming me. My question is: can it even be done?

small boy looking at you
small boy looking at you
Meriah

is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).

She likes her coffee black and hot.


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6 Comments

  • I don’t have an Iphone which makes me a rarity in my high school. It gets annoying with group messages and people who are too lazy to realize they cant imessage you. People in my school are so addicted to their phones they cant go 1 hour(length of a class0 without checking their phones.

    • that’s what makes me REALLY sad – it looks like a whole generation of people are being raised with this addiction – and not being able to knowing how to face a little boredom to gain more in the way of mind-opening

  • I do love my IPhone! But I have restricted my use to early mornings and bus stop waiting. Your right it’s super hard on our hubby’s I wonder if they feel neglected? My sister lives in another state, and when she came to visit she sat on my deck with the beautiful day and me

  • I was sitting at dinner the other day with the youth I work with. A family of 4 sat at the table next to us. This family ended becoming a discussion for me and the youth later on, because the whole time the family was eating dinner together they had their heads down in their devices. Each of the four had a device out, they were either watching a movie on netflix (the three year old) playing a game (the six year old), checking facebook (the mother) or checking their emails and working (the father). This made the youth and I very sad. I remember growing up and having times when I was on a device, heck I am still constantly on a device, but I don’t feel like I have to be on it at all times, when I am doing something on my phone I generally want to share what I am doing and make conversation about it. Growing up as a tech kid, my brothers and I were always around new gadgets, but we always found time to hang out with each other. And for us, being constantly on our phone at the table was considered rude as it interrupted family time. I am really saddened by how much people are glued to their devices these days. Thank you for this post. It hit a very important topic for me.

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