Work, Life, Tech Balance

Today I finally did it. I misplaced my smartphone and I was lost in space without it. My family found great amusement in the fact, but I did not. I first discovered Biggie (the name of my iPhone6 Plus) missing when I dropped by Starbucks for an oatmeal and latte. Standing in line, I reached into my pocket to retrieve my device and my hand emerged covered in lint sans phone. Panicked, I dashed to my car thinking I left Biggie sitting on the seat with the doors unlocked only to find that the phone was not there. Then I remembered that, in my impetuous exit, I left the phone charging on my nightstand next to the bed. I grieved. Boy did I grieve.

Me and Biggie

Me and Biggie

I struggled to scrape together enough cash from the car to afford an oatmeal (no latte) and knowing that I had a $23 balance on my Starbucks app sent me into a momentary depression. I wanted that  grande triple-shot Cinnamon Dolce latte.

The thought of traversing the entire day without my phone delivered chills up and down my spine; while the thought of challenging my family’s proclamation that I am addicted to my phone gave me the energy and the courage to head to the office with Biggie left at home.

Friends…it was a rough day. When I wasn’t working on my office computer or handwriting notes, my hands were confused. They seemed to wander aimlessly to my pockets or rested on my head, hips and chin. You see, I love my phone. Not in a weird object sexuality disorder kind of way. It’s a far different situation than the dude caught on video sticking his pecker into the exhaust pipe of his car. No my friends; my phone keeps me connected and aids in being productive. I talk to it and it to me. It is my window on the world.

I nearly missed an appointment because I wasn’t near my computer to receive the appointment reminder. During that appointment, I was concerned that I couldn’t be reached by the office or my family. Most of my communication during the day is via text message or Face Time.

I had no mobile access to Face Book, Twitter, Instagram or any other network. I couldn’t  even take a selfie. I grew concerned that Biggie was cold and alone. I worried that I was ruining the battery life by having it charging all day.

“This is silly”, I thought. So I capitulated and proceeded to take my daily walk across campus; soak in some sun and enjoy my lunch break outdoors. My wife Angela constantly says that I am “missing out on the world.” I paused on the Syracuse University Quad and took a seat on a bench next to Hendricks Chapel. There I sat in the world…bored to death. No news to read. No messages to respond to. No pictures to take. No status updates. My attempts to connect to the world around me were futile. I saw a squirrel carrying some nesting material. Ok…cute. I watched people walking across the Quad. Some snapped pictures of campus art and iconic buildings while others multitasked walking and texting. And others simply talked on their phones. I was the only one on the Quad without a phone. A colleague approached and asked, “Why do you look so vexed”?  Was it that apparent? I told her about Biggie and, in return, received a rather pathetic look. One of pity and bewilderment.

After work, the loss was noticeable in the car. No bluetooth connection phone. No bluetooth connection audio. A lonely commute.

I arrive at the gym and it it immediately dawns on me that I have no music for my workout. Unable to tune out the world around me, I was force to listen to the  bone-headed conversations of gym rats and, what’s worse, forced to listen to the local classic rock station being piped in on the YMCA’s audio system. Just not in the mood for Judas Priest.

Once home and reunited with Biggie, I was greeted with several missed calls, messages, notifications and reminders. It was if the entire day had passed me by.

I deny that I am tech addicted. There is an article a day written about detoxing from tech, tech addiction as a sign of depression, the ills of being tethered to tech, and other nonsensical b.s..  I see it as a necessary and essential part of being connected to my ever expanding digital world and an important tool in managing my work day. With my pocket computer, I can set the temperature in my home, check my retirement savings, send a kiss-face emoticon to my wife, manage my company’s social media, and check the latest political headlines in just a matter of minutes. Do I need better balance between work, life and technology? Probably.  But it’s not so bad when I can seamlessly attend to them all with one device.

Tonight, I’ll give Biggie a nice screen cleaning and put him to bed early. It’s been a rough day for the both of us.

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