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I am conducting an experiment on myself. I am seeing how long I can go between cellphone use. On my iphone is an app that records the length of time I am on the phone and how many pickups have occurred. The preliminary data is ominous:

  1. A lot of my time is spent looking at the thing – 6-8 hours per day.
  2. I have so many pickups I qualify as a babysitter a disconsolate two year old.

Oh the embarrassment.

I like to imagine myself cognizant and clever but my cellphone consumption makes me feel a chump. I’m ready for my “You are not so smart” podcast interview.

So I have it off or dark; it sits next to me at work. I see the phone lying there, taunting me to come look at it. Don’t you want to see the latest Trump-shenanigan? Facebook has some new posts, come see come see!   It reminds me of the poem  “Goblin Market”  :

“Morning and evening

Maids heard the goblins cry:

“Come buy our orchard fruits,

Come buy, come buy!”

The phone periodically sends out pings and other siren-song noises to alert me ‘something is here” hoping I will drop everything (as is my wont)to find out what just arrived.  It makes me aware how I have let technology train me to jump when called.   Well I am onto it and will resist and abjure. I am allowing myself an every two hour check in to make sure the world is spinning despite my absence.

I don’t do drugs but I sense my uncomfortable awareness and longing for a look is no different than someone trying to give up smoking or such. The suspense is killing me; I wonder how long it will last.

In theory if I limit my use and not check continually this freed-up time will make me a better person and be less stressed and live longer and the whales will all be saved -or so I hope. Mostly I want to be in control of it and not the other way around.

After I achieve this virtuous goal I think I will eliminate some of the phone apps, starting with the app that records the length of time I am on the phone and how many pickups have occurred.  There is some delicious irony to that, no?

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