The Case of the Missing iPhone
November 15, 2011
In our device-driven world, we are not only connected with our families and friends at the touch of a button, we are also sincerely disconnected when we misplace the tools that let us connect in the first place.
Take my iPhone, that went missing for eleven hours and 26 minutes this weekend. Yes, I counted. Someone had mistaken it for his and had tucked it into his pocket before leaving my friend’s house. At the time I did not know what had happened. I just knew it was one of those “now you see it, now you don’t” scenarios. I tried calling it, but it was late. And on mute. So I was forced to go to bed, fretting that all my contacts had gone adrift in the blink of an eye.
We got down to the bottom of it by the morning and my iPhone was returned. But it got me to thinking about what happens when the tools upon which we so rely suddenly disappear.
For some it feels as if we’ve disappeared too.
Who are you without your smartphone? An avatar? A shadow of your true self?
It’s problematic, and can be life-threatening when taken too far. On the flight back from Berlin to Munich, my seatmate was fiddling with his phone as we were in a holding pattern just outside our landing zone (can you say iPhone addiction?). I strained to see whether it was in flight mode and think it may not have been. The flight was just over an hour. Couldn’t it wait?
I recalled the panic I had felt just the day before when I thought my phone was gone forever. We are so dependent on our machines. And I question whether that’s really a good thing.
Then another gadget took leave without saying goodbye: my pulse watch that measures the caloric burn during my spinning class. I had to borrow one at the gym because I couldn’t find mine. I felt the now-familiar iPhone fret hover over me. Then I stopped myself and said, “It’s just time to let go.”
In the moment I uttered those words, I looked down to see it lying on the table in the washroom where I had upturned most everything else.
Letting go is a great lesson to learn. Life keeps trying to teach me that one. How about you?