I have two regular and recurring nightmares. The first involves Bungle from Rainbow and a fire extinguisher (which I am not happy to discuss here) and the other involves me stranded in central London on my way to an important high powered meeting, of which in real life I attend approximately one every three years (often by mistake from walking into the wrong office).
In the nightmare I find myself unable to get to the meeting because all of the details are on my phone, which I don't have with me, so I end up wandering the streets of Soho not knowing where I'm going, who I'm seeing or when I'm seeing them before eventually waking up in a cold sweat.
Well, as the great prophet 'Gabrielle' famously predicted "Dreams can come true" and technically a nightmare is a dream, and technologically mine came true.
I need my phone because I am a lazy person. For example, I've not even bothered to write this blog myself, instead farming the work out to a team of highly skilled chimps trained in the art of writing from the perspective of humans.
As I sit here, with a banana in my mouth, publicly scratching my own anus as my partner picks fleas from the hair on my back, I'm thinking about just how much I lazily use my phone to think for me, when I should be thinking for myself.
In the "olden days" (2005) before we all had the internet in our pockets I presume people had to actually write things down and take them with them, look at a map to plan a route to their destinations and do some basic research before embarking on a trip. It sounds awful doesn't it?
Thankfully now our phone's do everything for us. Mine wakes me up, gives me the news, tells me if my train is running late, plays me music whilst I wait for it, tells me the best carriage to get on when it arrives for optimum escalator access at the station I'm going to, tells me (via a diary in the cloud that my agent dutifully updates) what I'm doing, links me to a map that shows me where I'm going, guides me there with a GPS blue dot, allows me to download any notes I need and occasionally, if I'm off to interview a pop star, let's me read their wikipedia 30 seconds before going into the studio so I seem more prepared than I actually am.
This is all fantastic news for lazy, disorganised people like me. Until we accidentally lose our phones on holiday and return home without one.
This nightmare happened to me only last week. I was, for two full earth days, without a phone. I was a broken man. Have you seen the film Castaway with Tom Hanks? I haven't- because it was on my phone that I lost.
I was a mess. I did not know how to function without a tiny cuboid telling me what to do. I had become dependent.
Going cold turkey made me realise a few things about myself:
1) I spend an awful lot of time on my phone, just reading nonsense. And I missed it. I missed sitting on a train and scrolling through twitter looking at amusing cat memes. Instead I had to look out of a window and have my own thoughts. It was awful.
2) It felt like I had lost a limb. Approximately every three minutes I would take in a gasp of breath and be struck my panic as I felt for my phone in my pocket and realised it wasn't there.
3) I was late for everything. Without a phone to remind me, guide me and inform me I was just a man milling about hoping to stumble onto the right train at the right time to take him to the right place.
So, what is the moral of the story? What lessons can we learn about our dependency on technology? Our removal from the real world around us? Our reliance on something that can be so easily lost?
The answer is obvious. Don't go on holiday. That's the lesson. If you really need to get away, browse somewhere nice on google earth.
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