Like so many people I used to chastise, I too have fallen from grace. I admit that I have allowed my cell phone to completely possess me.
This morning, after I hit the button to close my garage door remote button, I pressed another button at the top of my phone. Dark screen. No response.
I had failed the evening prior, to follow my daily regimen of charging my cell phone, setting its phone alarm and leaving it within reach on my night stand. As a result, my entire morning was a half hour behind.
There were no persistent, high-pitched beeps from my phone. Instead my eyes were forced open by natural daylight streaming through my bedroom window and my ears detected my neighbor's dog's bark alarm at 6:30 a.m. That half-hour cost me. I missed my yoga stretches and instead of a leisurely morning, lunches were haphazardly packed, breakfasts were flashed on the run. Because both buses were missed, the kids needed rides to school. Could I still get to my 9 a.m. breakfast meeting on time?
At the stop sign on Rope Ferry Road, you could hear the clinking of my son's spoon to his ceramic bowl of steaming strawberry oatmeal -- an unusual sound paired with the pop music in the front seat of my car.
No smart phone meant no way to quickly check my contact info for the location of the meeting. There was no time to go back into the house and rifle through computer files. I took for granted I could look at the last minute in the morning, so I only had a vague idea where I was going. I had been there a handful of times before. I had a strong visual on the street, the mailbox and the walkway to the front door. I remember making a left at a restaurant on Route 1, passing two stop signs and then parking at the third stop sign. But I could not recall the actual street name or building number. I had no way to call if I got lost or was running late due to traffic.
I looked at the car clock after dropping off my second child. I could make it if all went smoothly, but there certainly was not enough time to go back home to look for a car phone charger cord.
"What did I do before the cell phone was invented?" I thought to myself.
I would have asked several days ahead, not only for the address and phone number of the destination, but also for the directions. Otherwise, I would have flipped open a street map and highlighted the route. If I got lost or was running late, I would be able to stop at a street phone booth to call.
"What did I do before the smart phone?" I again asked myself.
I did a map search on the home computer and printed the directions to bring along.
But the smart phone had made my brain lazy. I relied on it any random second of the day. I made dog grooming appointments while walking the dog. I confirmed hair and doctor appointments while waiting on the grocery line or at the gas station. I never bothered doing any research the day before having to drive two hours to my daughter's gymnastics meets.
My smart phone knew everything.
It told me when to wake up, who to call, when to do a task, where to go and answered virtually any question that came up during debates with friends.
Ironically, despite the fact that I programmed my phone to nag me to prepare to leave 15 minutes early to my appointments, I seemed to always arrive 15 minutes late. I kept fooling myself. I no longer had a natural sense of time. I allowed my phone to become smarter than me.
Fortunately, this morning I had the good sense to have faith in myself. I had no choice but to rely on my visualization skills. I used to call it my photographic memory in high school. I could see where I had to go in my head.
I was encouraged by the fact that I got both kids to school on time, so I proceeded to the highway and just drove, trusting that the universe would help me get to my destination within the remaining time. I made all the turns and stops that my body remembered. And when I finally walked through the front door, I smiled as I saw the wall clock.
I was on time. On the dot, in fact. I had outsmarted my phone.