Trying to write my Morning Pages with two phones and two laptops open beside me. Not good. I can’t focus or rest on the page. On the work phone, a Teams chat about something not urgent but interesting that I want to be part of. On my personal phone, sweet nothings from my lover and a dozen notifications from this site or that. On the work laptop, a presentation I can’t wait to start working on and an article I need to share, also, my LinkedIn profile. On my personal laptop, banking tab—can’t forget to pay the Mastercard—also, my current WIP in Scrivener.
Why am I doing this, why am I setting myself up for such failure? I will neither rest on the page nor do my work nor prepare for future writing. I will freeze, paralyzed by all that I could do, ought to do.
I accidentally give my iPhone, much battered already and with many cracks and breaches, a bath. As I put it in a bowl of lentils—I’m out of rice, but surely lentils will do the same trick?—I ponder whether I really want/need to get another smart phone.
I have a work phone on which kids could text me in emergencies.
Could I go back to a life free of apps? A pre-Instagram, pre-texting all the time, everthing at my fingertips life?
And do I want to?
It’s the question I’ve been asking myself since May 2013, when my mother bought me my first iPhone for my not quite-40th birthday.
It’s been great. I love it.
But it’s also been awful. By which I mean—I know I’m chained to, dependent on that device more than I am on coffee, never mind cheap red wine.
I think there’s lot to be said for NOT having the world at your fingertips.
At the same time… Google Maps, Yelp restaurant reviews, cat reels on Instagram and all those sweet nothings from you totally make my life better.
So I’ve ordered a new phone. It’s the smallest one I could find, on the cheapest plan I could find—still more than I need or want, and I know I will use it more than I want—or need.
I resent that it’s this difficult.
I don’t own a television. I don’t binge on Netflix (although, I confess, I’ve spent the occasional weekend in bed with a BBC murder mystery series or Bridgerton or low-budget Netflix romcoms).
I should be able to just use this microcomputer in my pocket to serve me—not to worry that I am its slave.
Morning pages. Laptops and phones away, out of sight and out of reach… but I know where they are. And what is the worst that will happen if I open Spotify s that I can have some music on while I write?
I push the thought away. Breathe. Stay on the page.
Resent the effort it takes.