Aaron’s Diary: Phoneless and Disconnected

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by Aaron Reiss
Eagle Editorial Board

I got my first iPhone as a present when I was 13. I have since owned four  other iPhones – R.I.P. to the one that fell in the toilet. Each, at one point in time, went everywhere with me, by my side, in my pocket.

It is this dependency on a cell phone that made me want to see how long I could go without my iPhone. Yes, I volunteered to go without my cell phone.

I hoped to last five days, I made it three.

It was nice to avoid the constant distraction of text messages and phone calls from classmates while doing my homework, but I realized over my three phoneless days that I was dependent upon constant contact.

My teachers or classmates will tell you that I do not shy away from asking questions. One of my former math teachers told my dad that she dubbed me as “the man with a thousand questions.”

While studying for an AP Physics test, I had to wait for people to log onto Facebook so that I could chat with them, substituting the casual text message with cyber-stalking. Not having a cell phone was supposed to free me from the shackles of technology – the incessant texting and phone calls that people cannot escape because their phone goes everywhere with them. Yet, without my iPhone, I became more tied down to my laptop than I ever have been to my cell phone. What made it most frustrating was knowing that all I had to do to end my struggles and remove me from the 1970s was turn on my cell phone.

Not being able to contact people with ease was not even the worst part of my cell phone hiatus. The hardest part about not having my iPhone had nothing to do with the device’s “phone” functions.

I use my cell phone as a way to kill time. Walking to my car, waiting at stop lights, in the bathroom, in all of these situations, I use my phone – checking the news on Twitter, seeing what the weather will be this weekend and looking at quasi-artistic photos on Instagram.

A study from Stanford University found that 85 percent of people use their phone as a watch and 89 percent of people’s cell phones function as alarm clocks.

I count myself amongst both groups; and not having a cell phone, and thus, no watch or alarm clock, made life more difficult than I predicted. My three cell phoneless days were the first time since elementary school that I had to rely on my dad to wake me up in the morning. Even after I woke up, I had no knowledge of how much time I had to shower and brush my teeth before I needed to head to school.

All of these difficulties are why, after three days, I decided I had enough. I turned on my iPhone, received upwards of twenty text messages from the three days my phone were off – varying from a friend who sent, “I’m going to be that person that makes your phone freak out when you turn it back on from all my unnecessary textsssss,” to a classmate who wrote, “send me the calculus notes pretty please. :)”

I missed all of it, with the exception of the smiley face; that is just weird, we are 17 year old males.

The point is, for three days I missed out on helping a classmate, asking someone physics questions and banter with friends.

My dependence upon my cell phone is unhealthy. I, like 75 percent of people in the Stanford cell phone usage study, sleep with my phone in bed with me.

I could not care less. It is the twenty first century, the age of technology.

Addicted and proud.

~Aaron Reiss

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