Going Cold Turkey
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Can I make it?
I’ve never gone this long without before.
I definitely would not have had the willpower on my own to do this previously.
But here I was, forced in a situation where I indeed had to go “cold turkey.”
For those unfamiliar with the term “cold turkey,” it usually refers to the situation where a drug addict is abruptly cut off from his or her drug of choice.
It was thought that the cold turkey phrase came about due to the appearance of said drug addict going through withdrawals, with his or her skin becoming cold and clammy and displaying goosebumps similar to uncooked turkey skin.
Luckily my forced “cold turkey detox” had nothing to do with a chemical addiction.
No, my withdrawals were purely of the digital variety.
It is amazing how technology has insinuated itself into our everyday lives.
I honestly think I have come down with ADD (Attention Digital Disorder) because of it.
The little red notification flags on my phone’s homescreen just taunt me.
It is not long before I cave in to the temptation and engage the social media app to see what indeed the notice was about.
Starting a blog has certainly exacerbated this condition.
I am guilty of often checking my stats on my smartphone even when I am also engaged in another digital activity like watching TV.
Trying to juggle watching TV and my phone at once never ends well.
Even though I pride myself as being a fairly good multi-tasker I sometimes find myself missing some key plot element on the show and end up having to rewind the program on my DVR.
It should therefore come as no shock that my trusty smartphone companion has been pretty much by my side through thick and thin.
The artificial glow from the screen is often the last thing I see before I close my eyes to sleep.
A little background:
I’ve had my current smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. since January 2015.
It has by far been my favorite phone of all time.
I have been resisting the urge to upgrade this phone namely because one of the features it has is no longer available: an autonomous curved edge display that functions as a sidebar to display items such as bookmarks, notifications, and apps, completely independent from the main screen.
This is substantially different from modern iterations of the edge phones where now it just designates a curved glass front with just the main display wrapping around.
Samsung apparently stopped making my version of the edge because it was too expensive to manufacture and my phone acted more like a proof of concept for them.
I forgot how much I paid for the phone when it was new but it was definitely a top of the line premium price.
The Day I Became Unplugged:
In my post, “One More Curve Syndrome,” I wrote about the adventure I undertook trying to track down my underwater waterfall lights that were ripped from their moorings by the sheer power of the waterfall after torrential rains.
A few weeks later, when the weather was gorgeous outside, I asked my daughter if she wanted to hike the same path with me and go exploring.
This time I chose the appropriate attire for the journey and outfitted myself and my daughter with chest waders.
We also chose to bring our phones with us so we could take some photos to document our journey.
Our waders had a built in chest pocket accessible via a velcro flap which we used to store our phones in.
Emboldened with the appropriate attire, and with my daughter in tow, I proceeded to wade through the creek at a much faster pace than I did on my previous journey.
Perhaps too quickly as this pace, coupled with a higher water level than on my former journey, caused me to lose balance on a tricky section of creek bed and I promptly fell face first into the water.
Cold spring water rushing into your waders definitely gives a much more exhilarating jolt than any cup of java could do in the morning.
My daughter, a few feet behind, found the scene quite amusing.
Having apparently not learned my lesson, a short while later I found myself sitting on the creek bed floor (not by choice) with water rushing into my waders, this time from the back.
By now my daughter was thoroughly impressed with my dexterity and hiking ability.
When I grabbed my phone to take some photos of my daughter by a small waterfall we discovered, I found, much to my dismay, that the chest pocket was indeed not watertight and my phone had gotten doused.
The phone valiantly tried to turn back on but after only seeing flashes of static and small bursts of color I knew it was not meant to be.
Fortunately my daughter, who apparently is far more graceful than her father, was able to take some photos with her phone, so all was not lost.
When we finally were able to return home from our escapades I promptly opened the back cover, took out the battery and proceeded to dry it off with a towel (as well as blow into it which I am sure had no effect whatsoever).
Despite my heroic attempts at resuscitation, my trusty digital companion refused to boot back on.
I then used a trick I heard about, but never had the reason to use before this, and sealed the phone in a container of rice.
I originally had planned on leaving the phone in the container for the rest of the evening and try it around bed time, some 5 hours later.
When my girlfriend was apprised of the situation she said absolutely not and vetoed my plan of testing the phone so early.
I was then instructed to leave the phone alone for 24 hours and let the rice work its magic.
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow:
After spending about half an hour that evening on the computer to tie up some loose ends (and check and see if there were any comments from my post that published that day), I then severed ties with the online world and logged off.
It was interesting.
I was able to watch that evening’s TV programming straight through and did not miss a line.
I also went to bed without any distraction.
I even got to set my alarm 40 minutes later as I was going to skip my morning smartphone routine of getting up to date on all social/blog fronts.
Driving to work it felt odd that my right front pocket was empty but other than that, there was nothing out of the ordinary.
I reconnected to the digital world courtesy of my computer at work and thus the lack of a smartphone went largely unnoticed (with the exception that I could not preheat the Tesla from my phone app at the end of the day).
Reunited And It Feels So Good.
When I got home that evening I held my breath and carefully removed the phone from its rice tomb, inserted the battery and waited.
Thankfully the greeting screen popped up and I soon saw my normal background wallpaper.
Some Important Takeaways I Learned From This Escapade:
- It is indeed possible to be separated from your phone for 24 hours and live to tell about it.
- One of my biggest concerns was, in case my phone was not salvageable, the thought of possibly losing all my scribbled notes for potential blog topics (at last count it is up to 61 pages of notes, with often 3 or more potential topics per page).
- This highlighted the need for proper backup protocols as this phone is not invincible and likely to give problems as it continues to age.
- Trying to multi-task often leads to suboptimal completion of both tasks at hand as your focus is constantly split between two competing forces.
- Despite being 34 years older than my daughter, it was her, not I, that became weary of the hike and had to take multiple rest stops to physically recoup (her old man’s still got it despite the repeated unplanned dips into the creek).
- We were not able to make it to the lake this time and turned around probably with only 50% of the planned journey completed.
- This gave me all sorts of pleasure as in the past she repeatedly made fun of the fact that my day consisted of just walking a couple hundred feet from the parking lot to my desk at work while she had to walk 2-3 miles each day going between classes.
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