I don’t know about you, but my phone is attached to me 24/7. It’s on my desk at work, in my pocket at lunch, and by my bed at night. I don’t even have that many people to call. In fact, its ability to make and receive calls is simply a function that exists that I regrettably cannot avoid entirely, but generally try to find alternatives to wherever possible.
My phone is my music player. It’s also my bank, my personal trainer, my calendar, my camera and my photo album. It’s my crutch in awkward social situations. It represents security. It keeps me connected to the world around me, and to my family and friends either next door or continents apart.
In some ways, it’s become an extension of my identity. Who else feels lost when the battery dies or you’re out of signal range?
We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of the Nokia 3315 and being excited at beating our top score in Snake.
I had a fight with my partner over it recently. We were on holiday with his brothers, and I refused to let him take my iPhone to their hotel room so they could connect it to the hotel-supplied iPod dock, even though I was going to bed. (Hey, it’s not my fault they all use Android!)
He tried to make me explain why I wouldn’t share it, without simply repeating the phrase, “It’s mine.”
It got me thinking: how do you explain this emotional attachment to someone who doesn’t just intrinsically get it?
There has been plenty of musing in recent years on the negatives of always being digitally connected, but what about the positives?
What about when you hear that song on the radio that you need to know the name of? What about when you’re discussing that actor in that movie, and wasn’t he in that film with that other guy?
Or my favourite recently, when I had an argument over how to pronounce faucet (it’s totally faw-cett, by the way, not fos-sit). You can be sure that the mobile phones were out checking to see who was right.
But it’s more than just information gathering. It’s masking your embarrassment when your card declines at the register, as you surreptitiously transfer money from another account while the cashier politely insists their machine has been “playing up” today.
It’s connecting you to that friend in Canada who you never get to see but lives in your pocket, because of this piece of technology that has managed to bridge the physical divide and put you in two places at once.
It’s not the 15x7cm piece of plastic, metal and glass that I’m attached to. It’s all the possibilities it possesses within that space.
Sure, I’m in a co-dependent relationship with my phone, but I’m okay with that.
Originally written as a writing sample for Telstra Exchange.