Smartphone or Smart Groan?! A Phoney End

After a series of calamities that involved the ‘misplacing’ of numerous smartphones (not so smart if they keep jumping out my bag, are they now!) I embarked on a 4 month relationship with a 10 pound Samsung phone. This was a deep, meaningful intimacy; we shared highs and lows like any other couple. We laughed, we cried,  at times felt we understood each other deeply, other moments we felt miles apart. This affiliation recently came to a close with the purchase of a new glossy iPhone. Samsung looked at me, dejected, screen welling up with tears, and proclaimed he will always love me but understands I need to move on to greater things. NO SAMMY! I shouted! It’s not that easy. One may think this re-entry to Smartphone land is an upgrade, but there are definite cons involved. Both phones have benefits and downsides.

Sassy Samsung phone. Are you sold? The design is so slick, so seductive, so saucy. Yes, it fragments at the slightest drop – the parts all pop apart with such ease. BUT it is made of the strong stuff – there ain’t no fracturing this one’s soul. It won’t crack or break!  You can easily pop it back together after lugging it at the wall for a party trick. Plus if this irritates you, a fashionable seal of cellotape around the screen solves that slippery situation. Yes, this may invite looks of repugnant distaste or bemusement from your more style savvy acquaintances, but hey! Does the job.

But you know what also does the job? A smartphone! Not only is it smart, it’s a good bit of fun. There’s no denying, you can have a right jolly on it for hours on end. Is this good? Yes!  But ask again – is this good? No, it’s also atrocious. It can act as a constant distraction, contributing to a layer of brain fuzz that clouds your ability to zone in on any one activity at a time. An example scenario to illustrate my point –

“To the upstairs realm I stroll!  I am escaping to my bedroom abode! Interrupt me not, mother dearest! Tempt me not with sweet offers of a milky beverage or fancy nibbles, for you shall interrupt the FLOW! For I shall be… writing.” I declare in a lofty tone to a disinterested parent, and off I strut as promised, my delusion of grandeur fuelling my confidence in being able to fulfil my stated aims. Music off! TV off! No distractions, in I go to concentration zone! Aren’t I committed! You go Glen Coco!

11.5 seconds (to be pedantic) pass, and my eyes wander from the computer screen ever so innocently to my iphone that’s just jamming by my side. Oh heyyy iPhone… just a cheeky check won’t hurt, non? I mean, it’s been quite a while since I last looked – 11 seconds!!  Someone may have tried to contact me! CAN YOU IMAGINE! IT MAY BE URGENT – someone may have found one of those super pieces of Haribo where it’s three eggs conglomerated together! IT MAY BE ON INSTAGRAM! I’M MISSING THAT! Just one teeny check of Whatsapp, text, Facebook messenger, Snapchat, pinterest, and while I’m at it one liiiiiiittle game can’t hurt the soul!

3 hours later. Oops. That was pointless. Guilt filled fun. No productivity once again.

I very much dislike the all-consuming nature of a smartphone. Go hang out with your friends and I guarantee there will be a severe case of twitchyhandjerk syndrome in the direction of the phones in between/during conversations. What about being in the moment?! You may be there in body but sure as hell not in mind. What would the Buddhists say?! I’m sure you’d get a scolding, or a spanking. So yes, communication may be on the plus side with a Smartphone when AWAY from your best buds, but if it’s getting in the way of genuine time in front of people I’d say this depletes that bonus.

And the battery! The hideously non-committal iPhone battery! I swear every time I breathe in a little bit of the battery is sucked away as if it’s precious oxygen. Stupid need for oxygen! But that’s how I’d describe the phone – so good it’s beyond addictive, it becomes a necessity to fuel your sheer existence. BAH! I never got this rubbish from Samsung! He used to stick about for at LEAST a week before storming out to go the pub and ‘recharge’ from my using and abusing.  Now iPhone’s in the picture it’s like I’m walking on eggshells. ‘Please can I just have a pickle of your energy to look at some photos without you feeling drained?’ I plead, but it falls on deaf ears. iPhone’s already conked out, exhausted. It’s tough being a genius sometimes.

Envy the simpleton, sweet Samsung, not a worry in the world as he does what is said on the tin – text on me, call on me baby, simples. Happy go lucky Samsung never caused me any fear either of losing him – I’d leave him everywhere and not flutter an eyelid, whereas the expensive demands of iphone mean I’m left in a perpetual state of disarray when it isn’t in eyesight. This inevitably contributes to iphone’s disappearances – I’m needy, I’m clingy, it just wants to break away from me. If I just left it in my bag rather than running about with it in my hand then I’m sure it would stay put. Clearly I have emotional issues. We should go to counselling.

Life without a smartphone was a lot more jarring than I anticipated, and the reactions from people were rather amusing. “Are you going to… sort that out soon?” A recruitment consultant asked me once as I popped in to register and flashed the phone. An authentic look of sheer repulsion flickered over the face of one family friend as he picked up Samsung to inspect it in the days it was held together by an elastic band. It did make me want to shake people and ask them to get a little perspective; it isn’t the be all and end all, although it does expose how it has become the norm to possess one of these gadgets.

A smartphone is so sodding convenient also – being able to check emails on the go and use maps to get out of tricky situations. And it was difficult feeling out the loop with friends: the inclusive realm of smartphone activity makes you feel green-eyed when you aren’t receiving contorted facial expression snapchats. But I do miss the feeling of being able to disengage myself from my obsessive phone use, and in an increasingly busy world where lives are jampacked, I feel the mind fully focused in the moment and in the present activity is one at an enormous advantage. What is there to facilitate – a smartphone – can hinder at times. But hey! Maybe all that is called into question here is my own ability to concentrate and view my phone for what it is – a sodding phone, not a partner of mine. Goodbye passionate love endeavour, I think we need to spend some time apart. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ll explain why soon but, er…. Sorry, two secs, just got to check whatsapp….

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