"Hey, can you turn down the volume on my phone?" I asked a coworker. It was hooked up to the overhead speakers, playing a Lionel Richie song from my iTunes library -- you know, the one about being the sun and the rain. I had my hands full watching the kids in the pool, making sure they weren't slapping each other with those foam noodles, which is more perilous than you'd imagine. My coworker complied. And then he dropped my phone.
I watched it happen. I watched him drop it like it was no big deal. He picked it up and looked at me sheepishly. Well, at least he dropped it on its back, I thought. Better than facedown, right? Who wants to screw up their face?
And then I recognized my train of thought for what it was: absurd. Unreasonable. Maybe even a bit disturbing.
It made me think about how much I care for my phone. It made me think of the delicate way I place it in my purse. It actually has its own separate pocket because I don't want anything -- loose change, wallet zipper, polky pen, stray earring -- scratching it. And heaven forbid if something in there spilled on it, such as my Sinful Colors collection or (ampersand alert) Brisk Half & Half Iced Tea & Cherry Limeade. Cue a World War Z type of international meltdown.
It's sad, really. Phones are not people. Phones are not even friends. Phones are ... phones. But whatever the hell they are, they're addicting.
Speaking of addiction, New York Magazine recently posted an article regarding the obsessive use of phones among the college demographic. Melissa Dahl opens with a zinger: "If a new study from Baylor University is to be believed, college women spend an incredible ten hours a day futzing around on their cell phones -- and the guys aren't far behind, losing eight hours each day the same way." Damn, no beating around the bush.
Furthermore, according to a USA TODAY College article, this type of phone addiction involves real, negative effects that draw a lucid parallel to the symptoms of drug and alcohol addicts. Dr. James Roberts, a professor of marketing in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business says that stress, anxiety, tension, depression and irritability are common outcomes when people surrender their phones -- even for a couple of hours.
I called home and shared these golden nuggets of knowledge with the silver-haired man who raised a good, virtuous woman with a minor bad habit of spending 10 hours a day on her iPhone 5s. (And no, I'm not drooling over the 6. That'd be like giving up a child in exchange for a shinier one. What are you thinking?)
"I have no doubt you're that attached to your phone," Dad said in his splendidly reliable blatancy. "Kind of ridiculous."
After that call, I considered his use of the term "ridiculous." Ten hours a day is a little less than half of a full one. And if we're factoring in, oh, eight hours of sleep, that only leaves a six-hour window for other things, such as completing school assignments and showering and crossing the street and other cliché, everyday stuff. And apparently, I might even being feeling stressed or tense during this markedly slim gap.
So yeah, a mere (anxious) six hours in the real world -- rife with real people and real laughter and real hobbies and real memories to be made -- is a little ridiculous. At this point, I wish to throw in that Ferris Bueller quote about life moving fast, but I'm attempting to stray from the cheeseball one-liners.
In 10 years I'll be approaching the 30th milestone. On an average Saturday, I'll be wearing red lipstick, sipping Vega Sicilia in front of a cobblestone fireplace (presumably mine), and a Dragon Li (no, not a tea) will be curled up on my royal blue velvet plush blanket next to me. No doubt I'll be ruminating over my younger years. Will I regret having spent 10 hours a day on my phone? The answer is unknown. Actually, it could be a maybe.
What I'm trying to say, here, is perhaps I should put down my phone a little. Maybe we all should (fellow college students, I'm talking to you). Because yeah, life is moving pretty fast, and if we don't stop and look around once in a while, we could miss it (couldn't resist). Do they have AA groups for this sort of thing?