Go Jump in a Lake

Friday evening, while enjoying a pre-dinner glass of wine, I had the misfortune to tumble into a lake with my phone in my dress pocket.  erp.  To be fair, it wasn’t because I was tipsy.  The dock post on which I was supporting myself fell into the water taking me with it.

The faulty dock post is on the left with a piece of rope tied around it. It was pretty substantial and left me with three shin bruises in addition to taking me into the water!

The faulty dock post is on the left with a piece of rope tied around it. It was a pretty substantial post and left me with three shin bruises on the way down!

After the initial shock, I immediately handed my phone to my friend who ran to the restaurant for a bag of rice*.  She ran back with a towel.  By that time I was back on the dock wringing out my dress and giggling, definitely a by product of being tipsy.

I felt calm about the whole thing.  Most things on my phone are available somewhere else, albeit less convenient to access.  And in a nerdish, professional way, I was curious to evaluate the robustness of my backup system.  It also forced a couple of personal projects related to digital photos and calendar synchronization into high priority.

I often read articles, or see advertisements, about taking vacations without our devices.  Without a phone to access I had time to wonder, is it more stressful to have a smartphone or to be without it?  Occasionally I’ve forgotten my phone, or had the battery die, but not knowing if my phone would work was a different feeling.  After day one I did start to feel mildly stressed about the cost, time, and effort involved to replace it.  I rely heavily on my smartphone as both a convenience and a time saver.

By day two I started to appreciate what it meant to be phone-less.  I took a walk through the botanical gardens near my house.  This was both to take a restorative break and to distract me from constantly checking my phone every 20 minutes to see if any more water droplets had disappeared.  As I strolled through the gardens I could feel myself relaxing and spending more time looking, smelling, and experiencing.  Was this because my phone wasn’t in my purse as a silent and pervasive distraction?

I do think it’s healthy to power down and take breaks from our devices, but it inherently feels less stressful to do so when:

a) I’m in control of when I’m taking the break; and

b) I don’t have the stress of having to replace (or restore) anything.

My advice, leave your device at home before you go jump in a lake.


*It took 2 full days, but the rice worked.  Remove the battery and cards.




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