My electronic placenta.
I write on this blog a lot more prior to 2013 because I got a smart phone in December 2012.
And that is when the downward spiral began.
Let me acknowledge it.
I am addicted to my smart phone.
I fondle it before I sleep at night, reading books I downloaded. I reach for it first thing in the morning; to turn off the alarm and then to check out what I missed on social media while I had my forty winks.
I tell myself the light on the screen help my brain to wake up. Ah, the lies we tell ourselves.
Every spare minute - whether I'm stuck in a jam, waiting to be served, stuffing my face, queuing at the bank - I'm looking down at the screen. I think it's now doing something to my neck, and it's not a good thing.
When I didn't have a smart phone, I didn't really care about how useful it is. I'm happy to keep inheriting my phones from my Big Sister and Daddy. Free phone, neh? So what if it doesn't have touch screen? I only use it for calling and texting. I am an indifferent photographer and have no desire to keep taking pictures of my food.
Do you care what I had for dinner?
You sent me an email? Oh, I'll check on it on Monday when I get to office.
No, I don't have Internet at home (my pants are practically flaming).
The only reason that I finally succumbed to peer pressure was because the chunky Motorola-that-looked-like-BlackBerry that I was using had given up the ghost. I got hooked reading e-books on it, thanks to the larger screen and storage space. Anyone who knows me know the length I would go to feed my reading habit.
Come hither, my pretties.
So I went along with Big Sister to Maxis and got me a Samsung Note 2. I didn't buy a phone for years, and when I did, I blew a dollar short of a grand on a piece of electronic that was already obsolete when I got my paws on it.
Thus began the stranglehold my smart phone has on my psyche and posture.
That was also the time when I got a new job that required me to be accessible near 24/7. The boss expected us to monitor our e-mails and WhatsApp messages at all time. Foolish me thought, "Okay. This is how adults do adulting jobs."
The discovery that my heart pounds at every chime notifying me of a new message, new e-mail in my inbox, was unpleasant, to say the least. Okay, that has nothing to do with my electronic anxiety but everything to do with the job. Although if you ask my former colleagues, they think I'm cool as a cucumber. Never would I let anyone see that inside, I was clawing the wall.
Fake it till you make it, baby.
The major chunk of my smart phone time is spent on Facebook. I tried twitter, but 140 characters aren't enough when you are in the mood for a major rant. I hate the feed and the way I kept seeing stuff that doesn't interest me.
Instagram bore me. All those pictures. *shudder*
Runs off screaming.
I'm a reader; I paint pictures in my head out of the words I read. After a while, all those pictures become saturated in my brain and I turn off. Thanks to Judith Krantz's I'll Take Manhattan, I have a good idea of what it takes to make things look pretty in pictures, so my cynicism wells up whenever I see anything picture perfect.
But Facebook ... now that's something I can sink my teeth into. I'm an info junkie so basically, it's like giving a meth head Walter White's secret stash. Who needs RSS feeds and e-mail based newsletter when you can get New Scientist, Washington Post, Jezebel, NYT, Russia Beyond the Headlines, Smithsonian and God knows what else in your feed?
I'm like a tick that's gorged itself so much; I'm flailing on my back, legs waving in the air.
The next thing I knew, I'm a monkey pressing the lever for more stuff to read. My experience on Livejournal and Blogspot taught me the power of "Likes" and "Comments". The chemical rewards firing up my brain kept me refreshing my feed, sharing stuff I read, funny pictures I liked, and of course, feeding my mania for all things Loki @ Tom Hiddleston (thank God it has tapered off ... I think ...).
When I look at my On This Day app, I used to have only 1 or 2 posts per day prior to 2013. Usually some funky stuff I found on icanhascheezburger.com but that's about it. Very few personal stuff, no pictures of my family or manicure accidents while driving.
At one point, I did become aware that my addiction is completely out of control. But then I took up the role as VPE for my former Toastmasters Club. I took care of the announcements and postings of the club's FB page. How convenient that I can take pictures and post immediately, neh?
So I tell myself I'm doing it not for myself, but for my club (HAH!) and that the things I share are beneficial not just to me, but to other people (YEAH, RIGHT). People need that amazing TED Talk video on how to overcome whatever it is that's stopping them from knocking their presentations out of the ball park like Anthony Robbins. Yes, they do.
My addiction to the palm monster short circuits my writing here because mentally, I kept composing commentaries for my Facebook status. It's also idiotic because 9 out of 10 times, it just stays in my head.
However, I must be grateful to Facebook for widening my circle of friendship. Yeah, you may scoff and say, "How many of those XXX 'friends' you got will actually bail you out in an emergency?"
But that's not the point that I build friendship. I don't make friends thinking that one day that friend will help me out. I befriend people because I enjoy their mind and it makes spending time with them pleasurable. If at any point, I require assistance and they help, that's fantastic. But if it doesn't happen, so be it. They may have other obligations or think I'm not worth their effort (and that's okay, I feel that way about some people too).
C'est la vie.
These friends taught me new things, help me frame new perspectives, introduce me to other people and great ideas, and so much more. I actually network with it - which has been beneficial for some things in my life. Also, it has been instrumental in my connecting with old pals who have fallen by the waysides of life and our reconnection has enriched me immeasurably.
Reading this, courtesy of my former debate team member, made me think about rebooting my smart phone and Facebook addiction. I'm going to forge a new relationship with my electronic umbilical cord. If I can't cut it off, by God I ought to gain mastery over my impulse to keep it.
Wish me luck!