I’ve been joking lately that cellphones are the new cigarettes, and the more I see people in the elevator, on the corner, at the restaurants, heads bent over their phones, feeding their addiction to information and communication, the more I think it’s true. When there’s a moment to spend waiting for something – an elevator, a bus, a coffee – instead of lighting up, we pull out our phones. And as much as I despise the tendency, I find myself doing exactly the same, far more often than I’d like.
My BlackBerry was lifted from my bag recently, and I didn’t replace it until last week, just using my old faithful Motorola while waiting for insurance money to come through. It really was a relief to be rid of the constant tug at my attention from that blinking red light on my phone. It was great to only be able to check email when it was convenient for me, instead of constantly being alerted to the fact that yet another one had arrived.
So it was with some reluctance that I’ve replaced my BlackBerry, but this time with a small adjustment: I’ve stuck a little patch of gaffer tape over the blinker.
Smokers have to stick on patches to curb their addiction too, and I’m hoping by blanking the blink, I’ll soon chuck the urge to check, and I’ll manage to stand and wait quietly for the coffee/bus/elevator, undistracted. Or, at least, I’ll stand there, itching to reach for my phone, and my patch will remind me that my urge to be busy is exhausting, antisocial, and bad for my health, and instead, I’ll breathe in some fresh air, and just savour a moment of not being busy.