Could You Survive a Day Without Your Phone?

Remember the whimsical days of the mid noughties, when our phones were just for making calls or sending random text messages at 2am?

In the span of a few short years, smartphones have become a digital extension of our lives. A recent study reveals making calls has dropped to be the fifth most-used function on our phones – behind web surfing, Facebook, gaming and music.

In order to reclaim the idyllic nostalgia of 2009, an anonymous twenty-something friend decided they would set out to spend 24 hours without their smartphone.

{Imagine Law & Order “boom-boom” sound effect} – This is their story:

6:30am: I awake to a foreign buzzing sound, reminiscent of a garbage truck reversing. It takes me a minute to realise this is my “alarm clock”, that redundant electronic good I dusted off from the cupboard last night. How quaint! No optimum sleep cycle app means I clearly feel less refreshed.

7:03am: Make stellar omelette for breakfast. Want to share my prowess in the kitchen with the entire world and automatically go to Instagram my culinary creation. But alas, I cannot! My eye twitches, ever so slightly.

7:05am: No Facebook. I have no idea what has changed in any of my friends’ lives during the 8 hours I have been asleep. What if someone got engaged? What if someone shared a ridiculously funny dancing cat video? I could start up my laptop, but no. I will be strong. If big news happened someone would call me… on my landline… with the number I never give out… It’s okay, I’m listed. Aren’t I? Does anyone even have the White Pages books anymore?! I sip my juice and ignore the second eye twitch.

7: 18am: I will distract myself with thoughts of work. Trying to remember what meetings I have scheduled for today but I cannot check my calendar. It’s alright, I tell myself, somewhere I have a diary – leather bound and all, to make my life look full and satisfying. Actually what am I saying – I haven’t bought a paper diary since 2009! I must start my day having absolutely no idea what’s ahead. Or who got engaged.

7:41am: About to leave for work, the clouds are looking a bit on the ominous side. I’ll just check Google Weather… No, no, I’ll wait for the radio to tell me the forecast. Just like the old days!

7:53am: I resign myself to the fact that the radio show will not tell me the weather until the 8am news bulletin. But at least I now know who the blond one from One Direction is dating. I hedge my bets and grab both an umbrella and sunscreen on my way out.

8:02am: I had forgotten how entertaining public transport can be! Watching everyone else play Fruit Ninja… My eye is twitching in rhythm to the amazing thrash metal the guy next to me is listening to on his “headphones”.

8:28am: I’m quite enjoying queuing for my coffee at the café. No really, you don’t get to hang around reading last winter’s Vogue when you use the pre-order app! Oh good – I’m at the front. Hang on, no I don’t have any coins and they won’t take eftpos for less than $10. Okay, well I really did want to buy that croissant as well. And the banana bread.

10:18am: It hits me. This is Day 3 since I met that guy. And Day 3 is when you get the follow-up hello text. Everyone knows that, it’s the rules isn’t it?! What if he texts then thinks I’m ignoring him? You can’t reply on Day 4, that just confuses the whole thing. OMG – what if he was THE ONE?! Deep breaths…

10:19am: I can’t group text the girls to tell them my dilemma to crowd source advice. Eye is really itchy now. Never mind, I have banana bread. Actually no, I ate it already.

12:10pm: Whilst eating lunch, to cheer myself up from having now lost all chances with The One, I feel the overwhelming need to buy a frivolous purple snakeskin belt on eBay. No access to mobile shopping means I instead must talk verbally to people or pretend to read the newspaper – whose news is already old. But I’ve successfully reached the halfway mark!

2:17pm: I don’t know which Big Brother housemate is trending the most on Twitter. The suspense is gnawing away at me. Plus I still don’t know if anyone got engaged in the last day or went from being single to “it’s complicated”. Eye double twitches.

3:20pm: Whilst figuring out how to use our coffee machine at work (I don’t want to fall into the trap of buying more banana bread) I hear everyone talking animatedly about the new You Tube video of a monkey doing handstands whilst playing the piano. How will I make it through the day without seeing this?!

5:07pm: I’d like to see that new Gosling movie later tonight. Opening week though, it will likely sell out – if only I could book ahead on my cinema app! Or check session times… I dash back to that newspaper in the break room. Do they still print movie schedules? Yes, success! I scrounge in my oversized handbag for paper to note them down, but come up empty. Who carries paper these days I ask you?! I find a marker pen and in desperation I write the times on my forearm.

6:20pm: I’m meeting my cousin for dinner, but thanks to the movie time fiasco I’m running late. I can’t text and her number is stored in my contacts list – how did we ever solve this dilemma before mobiles? Or were people just perennially on time – ha, crazy concept! I decide to just run. Bit of cardio before carbs.

6:21pm: My sense of direction is non-existent, that’s why I always use the map function! Resort to having to find the restaurant by instinct. Plus I’m clearly going to have to get this eye seen to.

7:09pm: Service at dinner is appalling! If only I had a means of telling the whole city this with a hashtag and 120 characters or less!!

7:55pm: Discovered we have to pay full price for our meals, when we could have used the daily deal coupon. Can’t remember the last time I paid full price for anything. Gutted.

8:03pm: Time for a quick drink at the swanky new bar downtown. Although if I don’t check in on Facebook, how will anyone ever know I was here having an amazing time? You know the saying, if a tree falls in a forest and no one status updates about it, did it ever really happen??

8:15pm: Wait, isn’t that one of the River Boys over there?! Photo opp, wait till I show the girls at work this! Dang it – I didn’t pack a camera…because I don’t own one… River Boy sees me walk past and looks at me a bit oddly… could it be because I have movie times written all up my arm?

9:00pm: Movie is sold out because we could not book ahead. No idea where my friends are tonight due to my social media blackout. I take solace with jumbo popcorn.

9:07pm: Cousin tries to entertain me by drawing a storyboard version of the monkey doing  handstands whilst playing piano video. Somehow, it’s not quite the same as seeing it.

10:32pm: At home watching reality TV, realising just how bad it really is when you can’t interact with other viewers to comment on how bad it really is. Have resorted to taping eyelid down to stop it permanently twitching.

12:00am: AT LAST! I free my smartphone from its captivity and gleefully switch it on. I have five missed texts (none from The One – it’s okay though, I’ve moved on), 12 Facebook alerts and three new followers on Twitter. Remarkably, eye is also much better now.

1:23am: Time to sleep, having fully caught up with my digital life… and watched the monkey video no less than four times.

After her electronic exile was over, I asked my anonymous friend, ‘what top three things did you learn from this experience?’ Her reply was:

“Technically, it is possible to live without a smartphone. But it’s also technically possible to live without chocolate, and frankly why would you want to? Secondly, nobody I know actually got engaged in the last 24 hours…..and I also learned that marker pen ink is really hard to wash off your arm.”


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