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What Happens When We Are Only As Smart As Our Smartphones

This morning, I left my beautiful and intelligent Samsung Galaxy smartphone (we're in a committed relationship) on the counter of a public restroom.

Just five minutes later, when I panicked at the emptiness of my pockets, I bolted back, only to find my phone no longer there. Commence physical spasms of terror, profuse back sweat and an internal waterfall of tears.

For the rest of the day, I was forced to go about my day feeling completely disconnected from the rest of the world. At one point, I probably convinced myself that I had never felt so alone in my life.

For starters, after lunch at a restaurant, I had to calculate the tip out on paper because my calculator app is on my phone. I felt like such a peasant beneath the stares of my friends, all waiting for me to finish.

Today, I also had to find my way to an appointment and later to meet a friend. Of course, I never scoped out directions in advance because that's what a GPS is for. It might have been the most lost I've felt in a really long time, both literally and figuratively.

To add to my misery, I didn't have any way check how late I was going to be without a clock. How would I know what kind of excuse to make if I didn't know the degree of my tardiness? Honestly, who even wears watches now for any purpose other than fashion?

Later, while I was waiting for my meeting to begin, I had nothing to make me look occupied among a sea of people on their phones, probably tweeting about the awkwardness of initial social interaction. I was forced to sit idly because what was I going to do, introduce myself to the girl next to me?

Then I had to write my meeting notes down on paper, like some plebian, because I didn't have the convenience of my phone. As I type this out now, I am working from ideas scrawled in 2-year-old penmanship on the same ugly piece of scrap paper.

To add to my stress, I didn't have Google at my fingertips to ask, “What do I do when I lose my cell?” I was so preoccupied over my lack of a search engine that it wasn't until six hours later, when I finally got a laptop with Facebook, that a friend suggested I call my phone. Thanks to the advice of friends over social media, I finally got my phone back. I immediately posted a status about my relief, and more importantly, my plans to permanently duct tape my phone to my body.

In summation, today was the definition of “the struggle is real”; the exemplification of “you don't know what you got 'til it's gone”; the epitome of “I got 99 problems and every single one relates to not having a smartphone.”

Who said time travel was impossible? I'd basically been transported back to the 90s.

Now, after spending all day listening to myself whine, I have reached a new level of personal disgust. I guess you can just give me the award for biggest first world bitch. Since when did a cell phone become another extension of my body? When did I become so intellectually, creatively, socially and personally dependent on a device that now outsmarts me?

It's shocking that an electronic object smaller than my own hand has the ability to make me feel powerless for a day. I'm a human being, dammit; how is that possible? My species is supposed to be the smartest on the planet.

The fact that I am so invested in my smartphone is definitely not a healthy reliance. My hands felt a sense of crippling loneliness; my pockets had an emptiness that made me physically uncomfortable and my brain remained in a painful state of worry. My entire day revolved around my lack of a smartphone, rather than how smart I could be without one.

Perhaps it's time to lose my phone more often and relearn some mental math skills, teach myself how to read a map, recall the art of writing with a real pen and reacquaint myself with human interaction.

I don't want to live in a world of smartphones and dumb people; I want to be smart, too.

Photo via We Heart It

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Karen Hua

Contributor

Karen hails from Boston, but she now hails to the University of Michigan, where she is a freshman pursuing degrees in English, psychology, and secondary education. When she's not busy daydreaming or writing, you can find her at the nearest gel ...
Karen hails from Boston, but she now hails to the University of Michigan, where she is a freshman pursuing degrees in English, psychology, and secondary education. When she's not busy daydreaming or writing, you can find her at the nearest gel ...

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