Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: My time in isolation
Vail, CO Colorado
I have become one of Those People.
You know the ones I’m talking about. I’m one of Those People with my eyes on my iPhone, flicking my finger with wild abandon across the screen, tapping it with authority, caught up in the world in that little device, wearing an all-knowing look like I know something you don’t. And I do.
I can tell you the weather in Hong Kong or the directions to the nearest Starbucks. I can read any newspaper in the world and give you the headlines. I can online shop, make my grocery list and check my e-mail simultaneously while in the car wash. And if you too have the latest and greatest, we can have a little FaceTime video chat, Jetsons style.
Well, we could have until this past weekend. That’s when I killed my iPhone. Negligent homicide is more accurate, perhaps. Drowning due to stupidity.
I knew I wasn’t responsible enough for an iPhone. But I saw people all the time who looked far less conscientious than I, and they had iPhones that they seemed to be able to keep track of and not damage. I figured I could, too.
It’s all a ruse. I think Apple plants these decoys in society to lull people into a false sense of security, to make you think you’re capable of owning and maintaining an iPhone. Power of suggestion. Everybody’s doing it. And I fell for it.
So there I was, almost three months into my love affair with my iPhone, thinking I owned the world. I had awesome apps to do amazing things. I felt in control of my life. Everything was there. Anything I needed was at my fingertips, merely a swipe and tap away. And then it ended with a single “kerplunk.”
I hate to admit how my iPhone fell to its death, but I hope it will serve as a cautionary tale for others. Ladies, my advice to you is this: empty your pockets before using the facilities. I forgot I had slipped the phone into my back pocket one evening and upon standing, the phone leapt out of my jeans and launched itself into the toilet.
There was merely a fraction of a second between hearing the sound and retrieving it from the, err, “water.” I didn’t even think about that action, but in subsequent tellings of this tale, people have questioned whether they would reach into the bowl to retrieve their phones. To that I say, “Oh, please!” You would do the exact same thing in that moment. There’s no time for the eew-factor to kick in. It’s instinctual, like protecting your young.
After sending it through triage in the ladies room, I applied a paper towel tourniquet and rushed it home to bowl of rice, which I had heard was the remedy for sucking water out of electronics. I checked it periodically the next day, moving the grains of rice to check its vital signs, until I thought it was resuscitated.
I carefully lifted it out of the rice bowl and sent an SOS text out to a friend. Message received! It’s alive! My elation was short lived, however, as it expired in a few hours later, going blank and dark, leaving me feeling empty and alone.
It’s shocking how dependent I’ve become on my iPhone. I felt strangely isolated without it. Disconnected from the world. Completely out of touch, even though it was only a couple days.
We live our lives differently now because of cell phones. There is an immediacy to our communication. What used to be put off until you were near a phone now cannot wait.
And we no longer have uninterrupted time with people. We might have several other conversations going on via texts, take a phone call in the middle of a visit, have the overwhelming urge to check our email, “check-in” on Facebook, or send a Tweet. We don’t just talk to each other anymore, with full attention on the real flesh and blood people in front of us.
My time in isolation has helped me see that I am living a very distracted life. Now that I have paid the “I’m an idiot” replacement fee for a new iPhone, I am trying to be more focused on one thing at a time, all the while keeping an iron grip on my damn phone.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through email@example.com