Mindfulness, Minimalism

The valuable lesson(s) I’ve learnt from dropping my phone down the toilet

You might think this is going to be one of those posts with helpful, practical advice on what to do if you drop your phone down the toilet…sorry to disappoint. This is more of a deep and meaningful realisation about the phone as a tool and how I’ve allowed myself to disappointingly buy into the big sell on phones.

However I can share with you that apparently everyone other than me knows the rice trick for if you submerge your phone in water (turn off your phone if you can, place it, submerged, in a storage container full of rice, leave for at least 48 hours) . Apparently many people I know have resurrected phones in this way. Not such a happy ending for my phone.

So back to my phone, RIP. Sadly on Thursday whilst I was holding it on the way to use the loo (I am one of those people who use their phone whilst on the loo – another lesson learnt there) I managed to drop the phone in the toilet (pre-use thankfully). Although I rescued it pretty quickly, the screen srarted flickering and it went black. Submerged in rice, it’s still flatlining and will need to be removed shortly for burial.

However even though I have only had the phone five months and I am still paying it off (Samsung S6. – bought sim free so rather expensive) I am actually really glad this happened. It’s woken me up to where I was at with the phone.

You see I’d bought into this materialist mantra that the latest, most up to date phone from one of the two lead phone manufacturers is the only way to go. I believed the hype…I justified, my phone is my diary, my camera, my notebook. It’s OK to buy the most expensive. It’s an investment…and I guess it could be if you don’t drop it down the toilet after 5 months if having it.

During the 48 phone-less hours I lasted before giving in and getting a new phone I had a pretty amazing experience. I wasn’t connected to the rest of the world any more. Adrift and alone I ended up alone at a dinner where my wife’s train was cancelled followed by a tearful wife who had imagined a catastrophe after not being able to get hold of me for a couple of hours. I had time to really think, rather than ‘just quickly checking on Facebook’ or Pinteresting before bed. However I also couldn’t remember a thing on my task list, and I couldn’t connect as easily to people and places.  It’s given me an insight into just how much we rely in our phones for so many things nowadays. I rely on mine to get me up in the morning, to remind me of what to do, to capture photos of moments, to bank, to shop, to meditate and and even that old fashioned thing of keeping in touch with people. It’s become, I believe, a necessity now. Certainly in York on the fateful day of a delayed train and a dinner eaten alone I couldn’t find a phone box to make contact. The mobile phone is now as much a part of our infrastructure as roads and electricity.

The other really important life lesson for me was that I hadn’t realised how much I had bought into the hype about branding. I speak so much about our materialist culture that to find I’ve fallen prey to it is a little disappointing. When I got my last phone I never asked myself, what do I need a phone for? What’s the best out there for me?  Can I find something that will do the job that doesn’t cost nearly £500? My feeling then was if it’s one of the top phones and that expensive it must be what I needed.

So picture the scene.. without a phone which I have found I need and with £300 still to pay off my other phone that has dearly departed there is no option but to get a cheaper phone. So I start looking and here’s the thing…there are much cheaper phones out there that have similar functions and I could have bought outright. There’s a whole range if good quality budget smartphones I wasnt even aware of because their advertising hadn’t reached me. £160 later and I have a phone that does everything I need it to. Granted it’s not all glass and I can’t wirelessly charge it. It only has half the memory of my old phone but I can use a memory card and it’s affordable for me. I could have bought it outright without being in debt. That’s what I’ve learnt and that’s what’s invaluable and why I am glad I dropped my phone down the toilet!


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