5 Things That Happen When You Lose Your Phone For 24 Hours

Those 24 hours unplugged were an interesting experience.

Those 24 hours unplugged were an interesting experience.

The world without the Internet is a beautiful place. Not Instagram-filter beautiful, but still beautiful.

The way I see it, everybody has a journey: a great hardship they must summon strength to conquer. David had Goliath, Captain America had HYDRA, Odysseus had... something with a cyclops I think?

Admittedly I never finished that last one, but you get the point. Each of us has a series of trials and tribulations we must endure that test will our resilience and (if we can survive them) that make will us better human beings.

On Thursday, May 12th, I shattered my iPhone 6, with no way of fixing it until the next day.

Now, I’m not saying that’s on the same level, but it does count. I’m a shitty millennial whose job is literally mostly social media. Without a smartphone, I’m a man without a country.

Those 24 hours unplugged were an interesting experience — and not for some of the reasons you might think.

Here’s 5 things that happen when you lose your phone for 24 hours:

1. People will assume something horrible has happened.

This is probably more of a judgment call on my life than anything else, but being unable to post photos of funny signs outside of bars or live-tweet bad reality TV had more of an effect than I'd anticipated. People were very aware of the fact that I wasn’t posting anything, in the same way that the silence following a blaring car alarm in the middle of the night seems more obvious than the silence that had preceded it.

People began to text and send Facebook messages because they were legitimately worried that I’d take a day off unannounced. By the following morning, I had received more than a dozen missed calls from friends (and my mom) wanting to make sure I wasn’t dead.

I made a point to get to a laptop so I could inform people that I was simply unplugged from the Matrix.


Living “unplugged” is overrated; life without the internet really isn’t that much better.


2. You hear what the world actually sounds like — and it’s awful.

I often hear older generations shame people in my age range for wearing headphones everywhere we go.

“When you spend your life with headphones in your ears, you can’t hear the sounds of the world, the music of the city!”

Well, drunk Uncle Steve at the family Christmas party, I have heard the sounds of the world and it’s pretty awful. “The Music of the City” has to be a Dave Matthews Band song or something: It’s overrated and terrible when you pay attention to it for more than two minutes. The music of the city is nothing like it seems in Disney’s Oliver & Company, it’s really just the sound of construction peppered with the blaring cacophony of frustrated drivers honking their horns.

Side note: I’m not a driver, but when there’s a street full of cars stopped in traffic and three cars are honking their horns, what motivates that fourth car to honk as well?

What do they think they’re accomplishing?

Surely they paved the way so my honk could be the honk that solves this traffic problem!

I don’t get it.

Anyway, Uncle Steve was wrong and this is why he isn’t invited around anymore.

3. You realize just how little you actually know.

We take for granted just how easy it is to have instant access to any information we need. During the 24 hours I was cast out from the Internet, I faced three problems that would’ve been easily solved had I not atomized the screen of my beloved iPhone.

Here are the three issues I faced, and how they were dealt with without the aid of a smartphone:

Q: How do I get in contact with my mother, who has an Android phone with a number I can’t remember?

A: Comb through any recent medical forms to find a “release to:” section to find a phone number, go to the corner store next door, and ask to use someone’s cell phone like a shitty grifter who’s poorly trying to mask the fact that he’s obviously homeless.

Q: How do I find out what time a movie is playing?

A: Find the Sunday edition of the newspaper (what year is this?) that your father has lying around because apparently he doesn’t know that The Daily News probably has an app now, flip to a specific section that has local film listings, and hunt down the showtime you want like the Cineplex Caveman you are.

Q: How do I properly use this wine opener?


Step One — Fucking spill wine goddamn everywhere.

Step Two — Repeat.

4. You learn how boring commuting can be.

I’m currently in New York City, where we consider the subway system to be our “Great Equalizer.” No matter how wealthy or poor, how young or old you might be, we all have to awkwardly sit shoulder-to-shoulder and pretend to ignore the guy poorly playing guitar for money.

I like a good podcast here and there to ease the 30—45 minute commute I have going into Manhattan every now and then, but since without a smartphone I’m apparently doing the acoustic version of my life, I guess I’ll just sit here and watch passively as I try to figure out whether or not this dude is seriously going to pick his nose nonchalantly on a crowded train.

Oop... there he goes.

5. You admit that, actually, it isn’t as bad as it seems.

Living “unplugged” is overrated; life without the Internet really isn’t that much better. The ‘90s weren’t as fun and simple a time as you remember — Full House was an awful show, the advent of the iPhone is a miracle of engineering, and I’m glad double-breasted blazers with shoulder pads aren’t a thing anymore.

However, that being said, living without the Internet for a while isn’t as bad as it seems.

It isn’t life-changing; I didn’t learn some “life-changing” lesson about the nature of human interaction in the Digital Age. People are just as anti-social as they always were, except now we have Angry Birds to stare at instead of our newspapers.

The world without the Internet is a beautiful place. Not Instagram-filter beautiful, but still beautiful.

There were moments I lived that felt more private — like they were mine, because they were lived without a photo or a Facebook status to make them more known to the world.

Life, with or without hashtags, is something worth living.

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