From the new book How to break up with Your phone.
I still remember the first time we met. You were an expensive new gadget available only through AT&T; I was a person who could recite her best friends’ phone numbers from memory. When you were launched, I’ll admit that your touch screen caught my eye. But I was too busy trying to type a text message on my flip phone to start something new.
Then I held you in my hand, and things started moving fast. It wasn’t long before we were doing everything together: taking walks, having lunch with friends, going on vacations. At first it seemed strange that you wanted to come with me to the bathroom—but today it’s just another formerly private moment for us to share.
We’re inseparable now, you and I. You’re the last thing I touch before I go to bed and the first thing I reach for in the morning. You remember my doctors’ appointments, my shopping lists, and my anniversary. You provide GIFs and festive emoji that I can send to friends on their birthdays, so that rather than feeling hurt that I’m texting instead of calling, they think, “Ooh, animated balloons!” You make it possible for my avoidance strategies to be construed as thoughtfulness, and for this I am grateful.
Phone, you are amazing. I mean that literally: not only do you allow me to travel across time and space, but I am amazed by how many nights I’ve stayed up three hours past my bedtime staring at your screen. I can’t count the times we’ve gone to bed together and I’ve had to pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming—and believe me, I want to be dreaming, because ever since we met, something seems to be messing with my sleep. I cannot believe all of the gifts you’ve given me, even though many of those gifts are technically things that I bought for myself online while you and I were “relaxing” in a bath.
Thanks to you, I never need to worry about being alone. Any time I’m anxious or upset, you offer a game or newsfeed or viral panda video to distract me from my feelings. And how about boredom? Just a few years ago, I’d often find myself with no way to pass the time other than to daydream, or maybe think. There were even times when I’d get into the elevator at the office and have nothing to look at but the other passengers. For six floors!
These days, I can’t even remember the last time I was bored. Then again, I can’t remember a lot of things. Like, for example, the last time my friends and I made it through a meal without anyone pulling out a phone. Or how it felt to be able to read an entire magazine article in one sitting. Or what I said in the paragraph above this one. Or whose text I was looking at right before I walked into that pole.
Or whatever. My point is, I feel like I can’t live without you.
And that’s why it’s so hard for me to tell you that we need to break up.