So when I first started this blog the premise was do write a quick write up. Short and sweet. Just list Ten reasons why you hate your iPhone. (Her name is Delilah ). How hard could that be? However true to form the words took on a life of their own ( Brevity is not my strong point).The result of which you are reading now. Firstly allow me to bring you up to speed. A few days ago I found myself screaming at my iPhone irrationally all because it had gone flat and dared to take fifteen minutes to charge up and switch on again. (Yes a whole fifteen minutes, I know!).
Anyway as I attempted to navigate my way out of this fit of rage that threatened to completely overpower all my faculties, reality came to my rescue. Well, sort of. It smacked me in the face. The fingerprints of reality leaving an imprint, whose contours and ridges seemed to outline a map , leading to clarity. I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was totally dependent on this pocket-sized gadget.( She is sexy as hell though) As I glanced and then did a double take in the mirror , the imprint had seemingly vanished.In its place I recognised an unwelcome mask, embarrassment. I was ashamed of my dependency. I had grown to resent my iPhone. In my minds eye I had begun to view and subsequently treat it as if it was a sentient being bent on making me weak and incapable of functioning independently. The Delilah to my Samson. I hated it for that. I made a mental note to blog about this hatred (OK, I lie, I put a in a reminder in my iPhone ) .
I set about frantically typing in quick ideas, pressing aggressively on the touchscreen ,almost as if to punish my iPhone. I would show her who was boss! As I begin to taste what I thought was victory, my palate was in for a shock. Bitter-sweet. Victory wasn’t supposed to taste like this. As I finished I could spy defeat on the horizon. She had a smirk on her face.In response I muttered an expletive under my breath. She knew she had made me succumb again.It dawned on me then that what I truly hated was that I didn’t hate my iPhone at all. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. How poetic. What is it my English teacher used to say about poetry. That’s right “Poetry can be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings”.
Fast forward to a couple days later. I decide to tackle this love/hate relationship the only way I know how. Write about it. Writing has often proved a cathartic and therapeutic experience for me. So there I found myself in my writing space.
Did I have to sign up to one of those support groups, I thought to myself. ” Hi my name is Tafadzwa and I am addicted to my iPhone “. At this exact moment I realise that I have just had a sudden case of verbal diarrhea. My thoughts have just pulled a prison break on me. I felt helpless as I watched my voice trail off into the coffee shop.There I was sitting, wearing a stupid look on my face. My thoughts had just done nude run in Mugg & Bean. Classy Tafadzwa. Real classy. I don’t get much time to indulge my self loathing though.Through the corner of my eye I spot a couple nearby,presumably on a date, ( No wonder he is alone they must be thinking to themselves). Hang on some respite they both had placed their iPhone’s next to their Double chocolate lattes. Almost as if it were part of a regular display of utensils poised for immediate use. I am in good company I see.They smiled at me knowingly. Comfort in numbers. We could start a support group right here in this Coffee shop. I chuckled to myself. Resisting the urge to tweet what had just transpired. This addiction thing is going to be harder than I thought. Addiction?Yes.
So I am an addict. Great. I silently say to myself. This time resisting the urge to put my hand over my mouth and gag myself (Although my lips tightly pursed together just to be sure ). Fool me once. Ha. My current train of thought is interrupted abruptly. She lights up. That retina display is quite something ain’t it. Its a notification.(Such an attention seeker). I make a mental note not forget to Google addiction.The light seems to be beckoning me. Come into cyber space , your eternal safe space. I dont put up a fight . I follow the light.
One definition of ‘addiction’ is when other people and other activities in your life begin to suffer because of something you know you should cut back on, but don’t.You always have all the answers, don’t u Delilah. I knew I was hooked emotionally. As with addiction to drugs or cigarettes or food, the chemical driver of this process is the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night and automatically reaching for my iPhone to see if there are any new e-mails, text messages and what’s happening in the world of facebook/Twitter.I do the same at meetings at work, surreptitiously checking out my phone under the table. What can say,I need my fix. I am an addict.
Now addiction to the iPhone is not something that should be greeted with a sardonic wink. Oh the classic roll of the eyes . I see you judging me. Stop it!This is serous business. As a matter of fact psychiatrists In Taiwan have diagnosed a few people already with iPhone Addiction Disorder (IAD). True story. Google it.
As acceptance slowly settled in. I reflected.I cant stay offline I had never been able to resist the temptation to turn on and check my iPhone. I always have this nagging feeling that I was unable to disconnect. Did I own my iPhone or did it own me? I am perfectly OK with being out of sight, but being out of site, now that’s a problem. I find myself , creating status updates or Twitter feeds in my head. How pathetic is it when you realise you have lost the ability to live in the moment, and have become conditioned to feeling like you have to instantly share it electronically while it is still going on.
Surely I should be spending less time in the virtual world checking and rechecking my iPhone, and more time taking part in what used to be regarded as real life? There is something inherently wrong when being separated from my iPhone, makes me feel nervous, irritable, tense. In other words, when I begin to exhibit classic withdrawal symptoms?
There is a strong case can be made that when a person lives too many hours a day in the digital universe, that is when he or she is really missing
something. Missing the things that are taking place in the flesh-and-blood world. We are all guilty of it to some level and as a result have become less sociable with people in our presence but ever more present (online) with each other even though we are physically nowhere near one another. How ofen have you been texting even while your partner /friend is telling you about his or her day at school/work, and realising later that you can’t remember the details of what they said to you.
Its sad isn’t it. We are living in an age of immediacy. Always in a constant sense of urgency. We spend our days with our head in the high-tech “clouds”. It is worrying an indicator that present company, for example at a the dinner table or in what is passing for conversation, is less relevant to what is currently being communicated to them via iPhone babble. Despite our unprecedented connectedness, we sometimes feel more overwhelmed and, ironically, disconnected, than ever before. To quote one of my favourite bloggers Khaya Dlanga on the impact of social media “We had nothing before it, we had everything after it; in short, everyone heard us, but nobody listened to us, we were all friends, we were all lonely”
Researchers on the brain have begun to imagine theories that postulate that the brain, the organism itself, is somehow becoming dependent on the machine( iPhone) as if it were an auxiliary attachment becoming essential to its functioning. Frankly, it sounds bizarre, although my own experiences have indicated a dependency that appears deeply embedded in myself and many of the people I encounter in my daily life.
Taking all this on board I think I can argue persuasively that there can come a time in a person’s life when he or she is a good candidate for iPhone detox. A process that would involve reconnecting with people. It’s all about indulging in a healthy manner. Rediscovering the art of conversation. No one is forcing us to become so overloaded and overwhelmed.
So what is the way forward. Re: Think, Re: Boot, Re: Connect and Re: Vitalise. I need to start changing my ways now. I am going to fight this addiction with a vengeance. I have to. Because right now my addiction is irritating me more than it is those around me. This is Sparta!