The first thing I did today was check my phone. After about five minutes I got out of bed and got ready for class. I took account of who was in my room that morning. Everyone other than my direct roommate and I were still in bed. My direct roommate had left hours earlier. I walked to the elevator and still encountered no one. I was excited to see what my day would be like observing people and finding out more about them through realizing how I act towards them. Then I realized the texts I had sent from my phone were part of this exercise. I went back and reread each one. Nothing unusual I thought to myself. Finally on my walk I encountered one of my friends and said hi and they said hi back like normal. That’s when I realized my day was going to be a lot more challenging than I had originally thought.
I went through the next couple of hours trying to decipher each person I saw and I was having trouble doing this. I figured I needed to start with the people I knew best to practice. Immediately after class I sought out my good friend and observed him as we went through our normal conversations. I immediately noticed he looked tense like something was bothering him and I asked him what was wrong. He told me he was having trouble with his girlfriend. That is the moment I realized that this “experiment” might work. I went through the rest of my day looking for little signs like that. I started being able to pick out everyone who was upset or tired or even extra happy that day.
Now came the part of the day I was dreading, removing myself completely from technology. I have an addiction to my phone I’m never separated from it. I finally got the courage to put it on my desk and walk away. I left my room and went for a walk and the entire time I was wondering what was going on in my life that I was missing. Then I started observing the outside world and the trees and campus and realized that I was missing out on a lot. As I walked campus I realized so many interactions between people and people behaving that I would have never known because my head would be in my phone. It was beautiful. I ended up forgetting about my phone and not going back to it for a couple of hours not even realizing how long it was. It was peaceful.
I have to admit I was a little relieved to get my phone again. It felt good to respond to my friends and see what I missed. My biggest realization was that I didn’t miss much. I missed way more going on in the real world than I missed that went on in the virtual world of technology. For the next couple of hours I started using my phone less and observing more. I had fun doing this and it gave me a sense of calmness and took me away from my stressful life.