What happens when one womans' mobile becomes immobile? when her wifi becomes wtf? and when she seriously considers the option of carrier pigeon as a more efficient mode of communication than her current set up? She learns some useful life lessons, that's what...
In a comedy of errors I (Cat) have been without a properly functioning communication device for about 6 weeks and have found the experience, in equal measure, utterly annoying and bizarrely enlightening… here’s how it unfolded and what helped at each stage.
Phase 1 - blind panic
First up, the on / off / wake up button on my (quite old) Google Nexus went on strike 3 hours before I boarded a plane to the UK. En route to the airport I dropped into a phone fix-it place and they did indeed fix it, hurrah, major relief… closely followed, two days later, by major panic as it decides to malfunction again.
Sensation: Blind panic, like that moment you think your wallet has been nicked or you have left your laptop in the luggage compartment of the train, panic rising and rising.
Solution: Deep breathing, longer breaths out than in to calm the heart rate and abate the panic (e.g breathe in for 4 and out for 6 and repeat this for a few minutes)
The phone would only work when plugged into the mains supply or whilst ‘awake’ and, in a “Speed" like twist I had to ensure the phone never ran out of battery completely lest I be left with nothing. This rendered my mobile virtually immobile and required me to maintain some focus on not letting it drain of battery.
The lesson: Like the pre mobile days I would arrange to meet people by clearly explaining where we would meet and would get there on time. If they didn’t arrive punctually I would wait and watch the world go by, not panic call them to see what hideous fate had befallen them. I became less lazy in my communication and more aware of what was going on outside my phone.
Phase 2 - double trouble
I ordered a new mobile phone anyway so that the non-mobile one could become my back up. The phone arrived and I spent time setting it up but then discovered that SIM card I had for Malta wouldn’t fit in it and as I was in the UK I couldn’t get it changed! So now I have a new fully mobile phone for my UK number and my old immobile (don’t let me run out of battery) phone for my Maltese business number. So now I ended up lugging around 2 phones (that work slightly differently) and 2 chargers.
Sensation: Utter irritation at how technology is supposed to make our lives easier but which, in these moments is making it feel more complicated
Solution: Deep gratitude practice. Expressing gratitude that if this was the biggest problem I had to contend with, compared to the millions of people on this planet who have literally nothing, I was pretty lucky.
The lesson: Technology is not always your friend and perspective goes a long way.
Phase 3 - Things really do happen in threes
The dying moments of Glastonbury festival and we head back to camp, my boyfriend loses a boot (in the mud) and my brand new, fully functioning mobile phone leaps to the rescue. I swiftly dive in to extract both boot and phone but I fear it’s too late, mud has found its way into all available phone orifices. A wise looking bearded man, a bottle of spray cleaner and a confident “it’ll be fine” later I switch the phone on to find it too has joined Club Malfunction. It unpredictably turns off, it won’t connect to the wifi at all and it has a display that wouldn’t look out of place next to a lava lamp. It’s not looking good but (a pro at handling such situations by now) I laugh…and laugh... and laugh…
Sensation (and Solution): Complete and unequivocal surrender to the situation. Laughter really is the best medicine.
My back up phone becomes my new phone, my new phone becomes immobile (it will take calls and messages when plugged in but little else) and I find myself googling “Cheap Carrier Pigeons”…
The lesson: As I wait for my new new phone (complete with insurance) I have found myself replying to emails twice a day instead of all day everyday - more efficient, charging the phones in the office area, instead of in my bedroom at night - less electromagnetic madness, I have reduced the time I spend on social media jumping from one thing to another - keeping my mind calmer and am enjoying the freedom of being uncontacteable for certain moments in the day - embracing life !!