Sunday, September 30, 2012
Why cell phones are like cigarettes.
JAN BROGAN - I was at the grocery store finishing up my weekly shopping and I got to the check out line, which was about three people deep. I scanned the tabloids for trashy headlines, then pulled out my cell phone to check for texts and email messages.
The action itself stirred a memory. Hmmm....What was it?
My husband and I were driving to the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. Just over the bridge, we pulled into a gas station. My husband filled the tank, paid, and got back behind the wheel. Before he started the car, he checked his cell phone. "Why am I checking this?" he asked himself aloud. He tossed the phone into the back seat and answered."Because it's here. That's the only reason."
Then, worst of all, I spent the afternoon at The Center at Westwoods, which was having a massive festival of mindfulness classes. I took one in "cathartic breathing," and another in Kundalini yoga. By the time I left, I was totally relaxed - so "in the moment," that I could be breath itself. What did I do as soon as I got into the car, even though it was a Saturday, and I had no urgent demands.
I checked my cell phone.
Now, I knew exactly what the memory was. This reminded me of when I used to ski. After a fabulous day of exercise and terrific mountain air, I used to go into the lodge and light a cigarette. What did I just do? I sabotaged an afternoon's effort at inner peace with a compulsive scan of spam and other email attempts to sell me something. Rather than being where I was, I was searching for somewhere else.
It's been a long time since I was a cigarette smoker - almost thirty years. But I remember that it was a default. As soon as you got in the car, onto the barstool, or into your friend's living room, you lit up. Smoking a cigarette was what you did when you weren't doing anything else. It was what you did rather than just experience a moment.
Hmmm....what does that remind me of?
I don't think I can give up my cell phone the way I gave up cigarettes (especially since I just ordered the IPHONE 5). And they don't yet have a "patch" to help ease you off your addiction. But I'm going to try to gain a little more control over it.
Maybe leave it in the car whenever I go on errands? Or perhaps a single cell phone-free day each week?
How about the rest of you out there....are you finding yourself checking for messages when you aren't expecting anything important? Anyone else inhaling their telecommunications a little too often or a little too deeply?
Gram, Liz Mugavero, and Linda Rodriguez have won copies of Killer Show, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your addresses and have a book sent to your homes.