Thursday, February 9, 2012


Is it just me, or is playing on your phone the new coping mechanism for feeling awkward or alone? It seems like every time I see a single person waiting for a table at a restaurant, waiting for their friend to show up at the coffee shop, waiting for the bus to arrive, they're looking at their phone like they're extremely busy and important and oh so glad they have a moment of solitude so they can plow through that gargantuan list of text messages. Right...

I could be projecting here, but I really think most people are just trying to alleviate the anxiety of aloneness.

And the truth is, I do the same darn thing.

Just last night, as I was waiting for a friend to meet me at a hip West Hollywood restaurant, my immediate reaction upon entering the building was to pull out my phone to keep myself company. Two other single men sitting near me were both on their phones, too. God forbid any of us should just sit there and enjoy the ambiance of the establishment.

But as I retrieved my beloved coping mechanism from my purse, I was suddenly aware that in addition to being embarrassed that I was sitting alone in a bar, I also needed to be embarrassed by the phone I was about to pretend to check. See, I suffer from upgrade aversion, and for the last 4...maybe 5 years, I've been carrying around this:

I love my little 1.3 megapixel purple flipper. I can type out texts letter-by-letter with my eyes closed. I can drop it on the floor a million times and it never breaks. It holds a small treasure trove of pictures I have no idea how to get off of it.

But when faced with the idea of having hipsters see my counter-culture mobile device in the carefully orchestrated light of a bar lounge, I was filled with iShame.

No longer did my phone feel like my security blanket. Or maybe it did feel like my security blanket except this time I was in junior high and all the kids were going to laugh at me if they saw me cuddling it.

Mr. W says I should upgrade and get myself an iPhone. He says if I don't, he's going to force me to take his current phone when he decides to get a newer version. I'm sure when that happens, I'll feel more comfortable about mobily soothing my anxiety in public.

Until then, maybe I'll try to work on honing my other coping mechanisms. Like inspecting my cuticles or balancing my checkbook.

Yup, still have a paper checkbook, too...


  1. I felt iShame when I went to a retreat and everyone whipped out their iPads. I kept my old Kindle hidden away in my bag. The next day, I listed my Kindle on ebay and bought an iPad. It's interesting to become aware of snags in the soul.

  2. I even look at my phone in the elevator. I can't stand two minutes of social discomfort.

    P.S. The iPhone actually sucks for texting. My Blackberry was far superior but the iPhone has so many other fun features that I gave up practicality for Instagram.

  3. People without iPhones shouldn't be so judgmental.

  4. no iPhone...*gasp*...that would be cause for divorce in my household. actually...i never wanted one...didn't see the need for it...but when Danny insisted I had to have it, I agreed and I have to's pretty cool.

  5. No, No, No, Not the paper checkbook! My mom embarasses me to death whipping that thing out. People in the grocery store who are behind her in line are pulling their hair out.

    The phone is understandable... hey it still works right?

  6. And here I felt like a social outcast for lacking a Twitter or Pinterest account. I'm pretty sure you're giving me a run for my money! ha.

    I haven't ever felt awkward or weird waiting alone for someone. I'm an avid people watcher and you can't do that with your nose stuck in a phone. That said, I do pull out my phone when waiting for people or at the hair salon while my color sets. It's not that I'm trying to look cool. It's more that it's there. It's accessible. It's a habit. So, I do it.

  7. I do check my phone a lot when I'm waiting... in line, or for my car to be washed, things like that. I don't know, it's just a past time. I think. I have a friend who also is still dedicated to her Razor phone... I keep telling her an iPhone will change her life. Which is both true and not, and ridiculous and not, depending on your level of obsession. :)

  8. HHP, writing a paper check in the grocery store would be grounds for divorce in many states. Thankfully she uses the card.

  9. Janice - I'm glad that someone as spiritually evolved as you falls victim to the pressures too. :)

    Mandy - I'm the same way. I get antsy. And the texting issue is a huge one for me. I've tried to text on Mr. W's iPhone and I hate it!

    Jeff - I drive a Prius. That entitles me to be judgy.

    Laura - Please don't tell Danny about this. I feel he might throw his drink in my face next time he sees me.

    HHP - I don't write checks at the grocery store, but I keep my register balanced to the penny at all times!

    Nilsa - You're a bigger person than I am. I'm very much aware that I check my phone in situations like that just because I want to look busy and not lonely. :)

    LesleyG - I do believe the iPhone changes lives. It is a great fight-interceptor (you can prove that someone is right or wrong by Googling the topic on your phone) and I would definitely benefit from the GPS. All in due time...

    Mr. W - Is California one of those states? If I write a check in the grocery store, are you going to annul the marriage?

  10. I think you have that backwards. Driving a Prius entitles you to be judged.

  11. iStupidAmericans. Recession, high unemployment, credit card debt, underwater mortgages. But they still need iPhones and the $40/month data plans that go with it. Why? So they can check Facebook and Twitter. Bunch of retards.

  12. I laughed with glee at this post!

    I think there's something safe in pulling out your phone to look at it. I too, use mine when I feel exposed, as if my phone transforms into a giant shield to protect me from social awkwardness. I admit though, that I also find it comforting to have in hand when I'm alone to be able to quickly dial 911 in case the coffee shop turns into a scene from Flashpoint. Just saying

  13. Jeff - If you ever saw the movie "The Other Guys" you probably enjoyed the parts where they referred to Wil Ferrell's Prius as "the vagina."

    Anonymous - Wow this comment would've only been better if you'd added "iSpitOnYou." Not all Americans are stupid, but thanks for your perspective.

    Miss McCracken - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does it! And yes - I've pulled mine out when I think I might need to call someone for help too!

  14. I never saw The Other Guys, but now I'm going to rent it. You said vagina.

  15. I still carry around a paper check book log but in the last few months have not been using it. I am an iPhone lover but have been trying to not use the phone when I am with people. Ever since Darcy got one, I've felt like even though we're sitting on the same couch he's not there with me. I hate it! And I hate that I ever made someone feel less than important by using my phone in front of them.

    I am overly addicted to looking at my phone when I am alone. It worries me that I can't just sit without distraction. What did we do before then?!

  16. I look at my phone constantly. Waiting for the elevator, on the train, as I'm crossing the street . . . It's getting to be dangerous, but it somehow feels wrong to not have that little gadget in my hands.


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