Normally, my phone lives in my jeans’ front right pocket, while my wallet’s in the front left. I feel balanced when those two little rectangles are in place, and feel off-kilter when they’re not. When I get up from a table at a restaurant or a café, you can probably catch me doing a quick pat-down: a light, absentminded tap on each pocket, to make sure my phone and my wallet are where they’re supposed to be.
But in the last few years, it feels like my phone’s become dissatisfied with its home, and has started clamoring for fresh air. I’ll pull my phone out during a lull in conversation at dinner with friends, or with my wife. I’ll check for updates on my friends’ feeds while I’m waiting in line, and then I’ll check again a few minutes later. (There won’t have been any updates.) While walking to the gym in the early morning — the city quiet, lovely, and just starting to stir — I’ll think of something I’d posted the night before, and wonder if anyone responded.
Also, I’m rarely aware of when I’ve gotten my phone out. It’ll just…be there, in my hand, and I’ll check a few sites and apps before putting it back in my pocket. And then, a few minutes later, I’ll find I’m holding my phone again.
I recently discovered that one of the pockets on my new backpack has a small sleeve inside it. And that sleeve’s the perfect size for my phone. So recently I’ve started carrying my phone in my backpack, trusting that I’ll hear any text alerts or ringtones. And frankly, I’ve been
concerned shocked terrified amazed by how much calmer I’ve been feeling, now that my phone’s not constantly pressed against my leg. When I’m on a long walk, or sitting at dinner, I’ve found I’m no longer looking for things in front of me to document, or worried about replies to the last thing I’d posted. I’m just…there.
After a few weeks of this, I took Twitterrific off my phone, a little before my last birthday. I still read the news, of course — I’m not a monster, I still need to know what the actual monsters have been up to — but I find out about breaking events much later than I used to. And I still look in on Twitter, mainly to check in with close friends via a private account. But I’m looking in a few times a day, rather than every few minutes.
There are times when I leave my house without my backpack, of course. When I do, the phone goes back into my pocket — at least, for a little bit.