I’m addicted to my smart phone. I use it all the time to check Twitter, Facebook, emails and texts, to comment on blogs, surf the net and take masses of photos. I even occasionally use it to make a phone call…
But two weeks ago – SHOCK, HORROR – it broke. Just completely, catastrophically died. No hope of resuscitation (or not by me, anyway).
I’ll take it into the phone shop in town, I thought that first day. But I didn’t get round to it – there was too much else going on. It was a bit frustrating but fine. It was only a problem when I was out of the house anyway as I have a laptop at home. It wasn’t like I was cut-off from technology, I just didn’t have it at my fingertips every second of the day.
On the second phone free day I thought, Hmm, shall I make that trip into town? Nah. I couldn’t quite be bothered.
On the third day I realised that the reason I hadn’t been to the phone shop yet was that, actually, I was rather liking not having my phone with me. I felt free. And I also realised (in the way you notice how often you check your watch on the day you forget to put it on and find yourself constantly confronted by a jarringly empty patch of skin) that I check the blasted thing far too often. At the school gate, in the queue at the local shop… even in the car waiting at the traffic lights. So I decided I’d just leave it for a while and see how I got on without it.
What I’ve found is that (surprise, surprise) without my phone I’ve had time to notice other things. As I sat waiting for friends to join us at the park (oh, ok, it was the local ice cream parlour if you must know) instead of continually glancing at a little screen in my hand I just sat and watched what was going on. I watched my sons playing rather than just looking up to check they were ok. I watched other kids rushing around. I watched the sky and the wind in the trees and I noticed the landscape. It felt peaceful.
And I felt like I’d somehow found a bit of creative inspiration I’d previously been lacking. Because actually, all those little periods of time we spend in queues or traffic jams or waiting for kids or friends, are the times when – if we look closely – life is happening. Not the huge, great, exciting, dramatic things, but the tiny, every day pieces of normality. And as a writer those moments are so important: they can spark ideas, help us flesh out characters in stories we’re writing or just suggest little details to add to our work. They are the seemingly insignificant moments that, if captured, give our books a ring of truth.
Anyway, it turns out my phone is beyond all hope so, am I forsaking the concept of a smart phone forever? Skipping into the wild blue yonder with only hope and a messenger pigeon?
Oh, of course not! BUT once I get my shiny, new little technological friend I’m going to be keeping it firmly in my bag when I’m out of the house, only to be used if I really need it. Promise.