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  • Erika Dowell

I’m not addicted to my cell phone...


I broke all my rules. Turn off the notifications. Put it on Do Not Disturb overnight. Nothing is urgent enough. I’m not addicted to it, I just enjoy mindless activities as a way to relax…

I’m sitting down for supper at my parents’ kitchen table, I tuck my phone behind me on the chair, or next to my legs.

No phones at the table. A rule engrained in me since I don’t know how old. Young enough that cell phones weren’t a thing, but rather the home phone wouldn’t be answered.

This is a rule that I, as I got older, would roll my eyes at. I’m not texting at the table, so whatever. But what if someone important calls/texts/emails?

An excuse that is worn out.

I’m sitting at my best friend's house; they allow phones at the table. We scroll twitter, instagram, facebook. I text my husband. I take pictures of my niece. Innocent things. They're unwinding from a work day... I'm on vacation.

I’m sitting with my husband, at home, we’re watching Netflix again while we eat. Netflix isn’t enough, I need my phone. There’s no reason that I need my phone. Surely, at 6pm there is no immediate danger that I will miss something. But as Netflix plays on TV, I scroll through instagram for the millionth time today. I have instagram on silent, which is silly because everything I want to watch or look at has verbal speech.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the deck with my husband and parents. I didn’t notice, but he did. All of us were on our phones, except him. He forgot his inside. A missed conversation.

Later tonight, I’ll be laying in bed. I’m sure that I’ll scroll Instagram. I’ll claim it’s because there’s food channels that are relaxing (hello icing a cake anyone?). My husband snores next to me, I hope I’m not waking him up.

I’ll go to a networking event, feel awkward, and I’ll hide in the corner on my phone; scrolling yet again.

Around 4am, I’ll wake up, check my phone, and wonder what the fuck that dream was that I just had. Weird.

At 7am, I try to wake up. I can’t. But I unlock my phone and start scrolling again. I fall back asleep, wondering why I’m tired and bored.

From there, I check my phone like a bad habit of bitting my nails. I get mad at myself for not being as ‘successful’ as a stranger and promise I’ll do better.

The problem is, I’m addicted to my phone and all the apps. I blame it on ‘work’, I blame it being a ‘social butterfly’ (please. I get nervous going to events), I blame it on anything other than a lack of self-discipline.

Am I addicted to my phone, or to the fact that I’m trying to suck as much value out of a $1,000 investment? Either way, I spend 5.5 hours on my phone every day.


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