So, I had somewhat of an existential crisis recently.
Back-story: On July 2nd, 2011, I went for a 3 mile run. As my run neared its end, I went to hit “stop” on Runkeeper, but I couldn’t because my phone wouldn’t slide to unlock. Turns out, you can’t really use an iPhone if it won’t slide to unlock because it’s all touchscreen. When I got home, I went onto the interweb to see what troubleshooting steps were available to me. All I could find was power cycling the device, which helped not. I purchased a Go Phone and put my SIM card in it, so that I had a means of communicating. I did more research and discovered that I might just need a new screen. I went to Radio Shack, knowing full well they probably wouldn’t be able to help me. It was there that I found out that I needed another part replaced. One of the Radio Shack employees helped me with that yesterday and now my phone works.
Psychoanalysis: During my time without my iPhone, I literally went through the 5 Stages of Grief. While that might seem like I’m exaggerating, it’s a true story.
#1 Denial and isolation. When I realized that my touchscreen was unresponsive, I kept trying anyway. I had my friend repeatedly call me, even though you still have to slide to unlock to answer calls. I would walk away from it and come back and try to slide to unlock, but to no avail. I shut it down a million times, hoping it just needed power cycling. It was probably an hour before I gave up and bought that Go Phone. I received a lot of text messages that day, but I couldn’t bring myself to respond, especially to the happy ones. I was so, so depressed.
#2 Anger. I called my husband a little while after I got my Go Phone. I’d have enough time to play with the phone to know that it wasn’t my iPhone. I couldn’t even check my email without signing up for $5/monthly Mobile Web (and by the way, I have an unlimited data plan). I couldn’t properly check my Twitter feed. I couldn’t check in on Get Glue. I couldn’t play Words with Friends. When I talked to my husband, I was sad. He laughed at me and told me to get a grip. In retrospect, I might have been overreacting, but I ended up hanging up on him because “he didn’t understand! Why didn’t he understand???”
I also experience extreme anger towards cell phone companies for making us love our phones so much. I had a moment where I was like, “Eff the man! I don’t need a smartphone! I could save $360/year if I didn’t have this damn data package!” That moment of sanity was short-lived.
# 3 Bargaining. I called AT&T to see what my options were. The two I was presented with were: (1) Do an early upgrade and pay $500 for an iPhone 4 or (2) Wait until July 30, when I’ll be eligible again. At this point, I could physically feel my instability, and I really was trying to talk myself into paying $500 for a phone. I had even convinced Crazy Hillary that it was completely worth it and what was the point of waiting three weeks for $300+ worth of savings? Eventually, the Radio Shack guys talked me out of that and out of just filing an insurance claim (that’s a $99 deductible).
#4 Depression. I would say that this was how I spent the rest of my time without an iPhone. I never did get to Stage 5- Acceptance. The only reason I know that I was so depressed was because of my complete attitude change yesterday when I was holding my phone again. The Radio Shack guy had told me it wasn’t the digitizer (which was his original theory), it was the main something-I-can’t-remember and that would cost more to fix. I was depressed all over again. I was going to skip the gym and order a pizza, but his “higher” price was ridiculously affordable, and when he brought me my repaired phone, I went nuts (ask my husband, literally nuts). I did go for that run, and I skipped on the pizza.
The Conclusion: I have always prided myself on not being addicted to any substances, but I realized over the last five days, that I do have an addiction.
My name is Hillary, and I’m a smartphoneaholic. And when I stop and look around and watch people eating lunch together, but not talking to each other just tapping away on their phones, I realize that I am not the only one. When cell phones companies get us hooked on data and then take away unlimited data options, we don’t boycott those companies; we just deal with it because we have to have it. We have to get our digital fix.
What an interesting path down which this world travels…