How losing my smart phone made me smarter

A few weekends ago, I hiked a deep canyon with a couple of friends. As has become my habit, I toted my smart phone along. I set it to mute so that I’d remain undisturbed by pings and rings, and I pulled it out of my pack only to take a few photos.

After the hike, my friend drove us back to our carpool spot, and after changing out of my hiking shoes, I reached for my phone to call my husband. Except it wasn’t there. It wasn’t in the front pocket of my pack, or anywhere else I looked.

Panic. Was it in my friend’s car? Or had I dropped it somewhere in the canyon? I reached to call the friend, who was now five minutes down the road in the other direction, but — oh right. I’d have to call her when I got home. Wait, did I know her number? No, I did not. It’s programmed into my phone. I probably added it to my contacts via email, never once dialing it.

A sense of doom set in, as I thought about all the other information I’d offloaded from my brain to that shiny glass rectangle. But the despair was quickly followed by a sense of release. I was suddenly free from obligation. I couldn’t check messages. No one could reach me. I was untethered.

It was Saturday afternoon, and I decided not to think about the phone for the next 24 hours. It sounds simple, but I kept reaching for the phone out of instinct. Standing in line at the grocery store on my way home, I was shocked to realize how long it had been since I’d waited somewhere without occupying myself with messages and other reading material on my phone.

Read the rest at Last Word On Nothing.