Creative Freedom is No Cell

I watched my phone sail right out of my hands – Frisbee style – onto the sidewalk. It was a perfect landing with a nice smash for effect – and surely would have won gold in gymnastics at the Olympics.

The rep at my cell carrier confirmed my little lifeline was D.O.A. He then added to my angst by advising it would be 5 days before that particular phone was back in stock. Thus, I would be without access to what is a 5-inch breathing apparatus for most of us for a small eternity.

I attempted to take a Zen-like approach to the matter (after some head-banging on my dashboard for being so clumsy). Somewhere, someone thought I should go old school for the better part of a week. I have to say, I feel like I learned a few valuable lessons about our relation to all things cellular that I’m happy to share:

When your life and your job is expressing the intersection of life through creativity, you should probably get your head out of your phone – and therefore out of your ass – to observe even the smallest things. Waiting for takeout, standing on a street corner, of course – driving.

Writing the next big ideas (or hopefully at least mid-size ideas) is a lot more fun with construction paper and crayons or whatever you can find then tip tapping away like a bird. It makes you feel like a happy kid – and since writing is my thing, my drawings are about on par with your average 6-year-old. The ideas seem more tangible and have more life to them also.

I like not being able to be reached sometimes. Gives you breathing room to think.

I slept better. When your phone is a foot away, the temptation is always there to check out whatever news feed, social media, or pictures of cats in Halloween costumes are available, which is of course relevant every season, October be damned.

Everyone around me is on their phone way too goddamn much.

Everyone misses my snarky comments/tweets/updates. One would hope.

When advising someone you are without a phone for several days, you might as well tell them you’re not going to the bathroom during that time either. The looks you get are that severe.

The level of relaxation achieved when not tied to a device is sublime.

Even just sitting in a restaurant or bar is a new experience. People watching is a sport in advertising and that will always inform the narrative to a degree.

I’ll stop there and let the viewing audience think about what they would add to this list to round it out to a perfect ten. If you’ve been there, sure you have a survival tip or two and if you haven’t been there, why not shut off your perfectly good phone once a day and start getting back with the living.

– P. Madden, Top Cat