At some point, I lost my edge. I stopped viewing the world through the lens of a writer. Stopped harvesting fresh words from the orchard. Stopped reading and re-reading passages, dissecting them and figuring out why the author took that path. Why a semicolon?
Every once and again, the voices start speaking. A sort of exploding head syndrome, but instead of a crash—a blast—it’s a cacophony of voices all crying out at once: “LISTEN TO ME!” It doesn’t always happen at night. At work, Kelly Winters struts through my head. Author Unknown revisits the possum story. David’s voice is muffled by the muzzle of the gun just seconds before he pulls the trigger.
And it’s my phone. It’s my tablet. My laptop. In short, I lost the ability of being bored.
“I am obsessed and addicted and convinced that my phone is trying to kill me. I believe this to be true. By the way, when I say “my phone” I mean my phone and my iPad and my laptop and all technological devices in general.” –Amy Poehler, Yes Please.
Last week, I listened to the entire Bored & Brilliant arc by Note to Self—back when they used to be called New Tech City—and I became fascinated by how many times a day people get distracted by their phone. By any and all of their devices. And I recalled how watching one video on YouTube leads to a marathon of Cracked.com’s After Hours episodes. Or, worse, endless hours of conspiracy theories and pseudo-documentaries on Lovecraftian lore.
Where once I could pass my time reading a book I now get distracted with every ping and vibration from my phone. It’s become problematic that every time I look up something for research purposes, I lose sight of my goal. I’ll spend hours googling one thing after another that my document remains touched for hours. And by the time I return to it, the mood has past. All imagination is drained with the cramming of useless information.
While I haven’t tried anything from the Bored & Brilliant challenge (and I don’t think I ever will), I have tried to distance myself from my devices. I can go days without looking at my laptop (which accounts for my lack of writing). My tablet gets my attention for an hour a day max. I can go a day without TV. But my phone, man, my phone is heroin. And while I try every day to look at it less and less, the more and more I fail. Even now. After typing that sentence. My right hand went straight to my phone, switched it on, and peeked at its screen. Why? I don’t know. I didn’t check the time. I don’t know what time it is. I just checked. Maybe I’m expecting a message? Nope.
I turned off all notifications from Facebook. It’s not the biggest accomplishment, but it’s something. Right?