How Do You Lose a Phone?

*Yawn. Stumbling out of a tour bus with a stomach full of buffet food, drooping eyes, and sore legs from my adventure on a glacier, I initiated my routine four pocket check. It’s a tradition where I play airport security and pat myself down to make sure I still have all my belongings.

Pocket 1: Camera? Check.

Pocket 2: Wallet? Check

Pocket 3: Phone? Check

Pocket 4: Headphones and Miscellaneous Receipts? Check

Satisfied with the results of my thorough analysis,  I waved goodbye to the driver (See ya later bro), and watched the white van tear away. Where was I? No clue. No big deal. After all, Google maps is there to bail me out of everything.

So pulling out my phon-* wait. Where’s my phone?

Pocket 1: Camera? Check.

Pocket 2: Wallet? Check

Pocket 3: Battery Pack (not phone)? Check

Pocket 4: Headphones and Miscellaneous Receipts? Check

What the heck?

But I knew that I just had my phone. A few short minutes before falling asleep, I was conquering monsters using my elven defense towers, rendering havoc among the necromancers and flying vampires (playing kingdom rush)

Yes. I left my phone on the tour van.

No. I have not recovered my phone yet.

Don’t say that I didn’t try. I tried chasing after that white van. Hearing that their next destination was “Whistler’s Inn”,  I sprinted my way to the hotel. What a site. An Asian dude with an orange backpack in Jasper jay-sprinting to get find a white van that had his phone. But when I got there? Nada.

For those of you who have not realized this yet, there are a lot of white vans in a town at any given time. And not saying that I did, but chasing after several white vans and trying to peek at the driver in order to recover a lost phone does not work.

I went to the tour company the next day, trying to see if anyone had returned something to the lost and found. The lady at the counter was nice enough to call the company that ran the buses, check the lost and found at the drivers lounge, and deal with getting bounced around / being put on hold. Nada.

*Sigh

Dead To The Modern World

A phone is my lifeline to the modern world. Now people won’t be able to contact me. How am I going to check emails on the go? What if I missed an important text? How would I be able to keep on using Snapchat? What would happen to all of my cool pictures? How would I survive a 46 hour train ride without any form of entertainment?

My phone is sorely missed. I can’t wait to get another one. I need one.

But in the meantime, in case I was hopelessly lost in the concrete jungles of Edmonton, or kidnapped on the train, I needed a temporary phone. Cue… the flip phone.

Defeated, I wandered into West Edmonton Mall looking for one of those phone booths that sold an elusive, cheap, flip phone. After going through a few sales pitches, baffled looks by the salesman, good ol’ Moriarty from Best Buy Mobile hooked me up with my temporary flip phone. ZTE.

It’s a real classic. No Android and importing all my contacts. I don’t want to press the keys 2983523 times to type in my dad’s name, so I actually have to memorize his number.

I can text…sort of. There’s no keyboard, so if you want to type “C” you have to click 3 times. “H” 2 times. “A” 1 time. “N” two times. So to type my last name, I had the fulfilling experience of what it was like to type back in the stone age. I had to click 8 times. Double what I usually do on my Android.

Even worse, is trying to text a word like “mom” All the letters are located on the 6 key, which means that in between each letter, you have to wait another second before the phone understands you’re done typing one letter and moves you on to an empty space.

There’s also no easy way to connect to Wi-FI. You thought it was annoying to try connecting to Starbucks WiFi and wait for that page with the “terms and conditions” to pop up?

HA

Try typing “Starbucks WIFI” into your phone to first find the network. Then realize that the phone is so old, the internet browser on it can’t even access that terms and conditions page. Even if it could, there is no way to click “I Accept and Agree” to the long pages of legal jargon.

But I love this little flip phone anyways.

I would call how outdated it is a feature.

Hello? Are You There? Are You Still There?

Back with my smartphone, it always felt like I was on call. A Facebook message here. A text there. A new email. A dying Snapchat streak. Photos to document every single moment of my life. Video games. Scrolling endlessly on Facebook, chaining through articles, tagging people in memes, liking, reacting, commenting.

Looking back, I remember there was this one time where I used my camera to record a stunning mountain view, only to pull out my phone to make sure I could post a picture to my Snapchat Story. I just had to make sure that everyone knew that I was on top of a mountain.

When I had my phone with me, it was easy to get caught up in all these small, petty distractions . I was scared of missing out. That people would get angry / annoyed if I didn’t reply right away. I prided myself on the stream of emails and how quickly I responded.

But all this added a lot of unnecessary bloat and stress to my life. The need to be online and present all the time hovered in the background like a swarm of irritating mosquitos, sucking out my time and energy from more important and meaningful actions.

So with a flip phone, all those distractions get swatted away. It’s great. Liberating. Contrary to what I was subconsciously preaching to myself, the world has not imploded in a frenzied explosion of frustration, outrage, and simmering resentment because I have not replied to a text. I officially have no more Snapchat streaks. After doing some in depth research, I have found that no one has broken off a friendship because I no longer have a cartoonish flame icon beside their username.

Now I have no choice but to talk to people. To ask for directions. To look up and around instead of looking down.

Now, it doesn’t feel like I’m on call 24/7, or the world is going to end if I don’t get that call or text. I have the peace of mind to focus on the stuff that I really enjoy or need to do.

We are all addicted to our phones. Am I preaching? Yes. Am I right? Yes. Because I know that I was in a state of shock and panic after losing my phone on the bus. I know that when I was disconnected, I felt vulnerable and detached. I also know that before, if I had left my phone at home, or it ran out of battery, those same feelings would popped up.

I know it’s hard to break your streaks, but sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you.

Aha, now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that we should all discard all of our shiny iPhones and trade them in for Nokias. Keypad typing is a tortuous experience that I would not wish onto anyone.

But maybe try shutting off your phone for a few hours. Uninstall Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for a day. Leave your phone at home. Turn off your WiFi and data at a certain time each day.

Call it a challenge. Do you think you can do it?