As part of the requirements to complete my diploma in Media Studies at the American University of Beirut back in the day (what up AUB), I had to take a course titled "Digital Media Literacy". I was very excited about this course because it was a departure from the communication theory-based courses that I had taken up until that point. I had heard from previous students that this class had an extra-credit option where students gave up media (digital and traditional) for 48 (ish?) hours, I didn't know what to expect but I was excited to try it out. The semester moved along and the time for the media-detox arrived, so my professor (hey Sarah!) took our phones away and locked them in a box, she gave us a card with a letter on it so that we could redeem our phone after the extra-credit assignment was over. The first couple of hours were hard because I couldn't just text my friends to tell them that I'd be in the cafeteria or Jafet (the library), I had to make previous arrangements to meet specific people at a specific spot at a specific time. Last minute change of plans were not an option. It was tough, but I survived. The toughest part was the drive home as I was not allowed to listen to the radio to entertain me through traffic. Luckily, I wasn't driving home by myself and had Shahine there to drive mad. My memory of the rest of the experience is a bit hazy (this was over three years ago), but I remember feeling like something was missing the whole time. It's funny because looking back now, I feel like I was less dependent on my phone back then. Although I was still a social media nut, I didn't have apps like Snapchat and Instagram (it existed but it wasn't a thing) to check, close and then re-check every second. After the whole thing was over, I was glad to have my phone back in my life, I remember feeling like I was back to "reality". The point of the assignment was for participants to realize how much media affects our lives, and how dependent to media and technology we are. I accepted my dependability, learned my lesson and had no intention of repeating it again.
It's funny how life works though, because it decided to inflict a non-consensual phone detox upon me this weekend. Well technically, it was my fault...but let's not dwell on who or what to blame. As I write this, it's been over 32 hours since I lost my phone to the wetness monster. It is currently in the phone-hospital where professionals (aka my phone guys) are trying to revive my baby. Since the incident, a hazy cloud of sadness has appeared in my life. My right hand keeps reaching for my phone, but it's not there. It's not that I'm sad about losing the phone itself, but I'm sad about losing the contents of said phone which include important memories and work stuff. Some of my pictures and documents have been backed-up on the cloud, so I haven't lost everything, but there's a big chunk of things that I forgot to backup in recent months which have gone bye-bye. I'm also a little bit angry about the thought of having to buy a new phone. In my head I had planned to use my iphone 6 until the Pixel 2 by Google comes out next year, but now I'm in a position where I will most likely have to spend my money on a phone that I didn't particularly want. That last bit is a #FirstWorldProblem, but it's part of my thought process of this whole situation, I have no intention of turning this into a #TeamApple or #TeamAndroid nonsense. Anyway, moving along now. I wasn't sure if I should share this whole story, but I thought it would be fun to document this melodramatic moment of my life. Also, writing is a creative outlet for me (you might have noticed) so I had to let it all out. Hopefully everything works out and I get to laugh about this post in the near future.
Moral of the story kids: backup your phone every day and keep your phone away from liquids... especially on a Saturday night. Also, non-consensual phone detoxes suck!
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