I admit that I use my iPhone way more than I wish I did. When I see other people in public using their phones instead of engaging with the world around them, I get very judgmental. “Why don’t you read a book?” I think self-righteously. “Or hey, here’s an idea—look up and smile at the people around you. Or look at the trees!”
But don’t worry: I’m not a total jerk. Within a second of having these judgmental thoughts, I realize that I myself am tethered to my phone in public and in private way more than I am comfortable with. I have this knee-jerk reaction when i’m in public looking at my phone. It’s like I want to call out, “I’m doing something important!” or “I do read a lot, I just forgot my book and I’m using this phone to keep in touch with friends, very real friends who will be here soon and with whom I will make genuine and meaningful eye contact!” People probably aren’t giving me a second glance, so why the self-judgment?
Let’s face it: it’s not for me to judge why other people are on their phones, and I need to chill out a lot when I am judging myself. It’s clear to me that when I start to feel critical of others, no matter how briefly, I’m likely reacting to something in myself that I find undesirable.
But onto the good news: sometimes smart phones and other similar technology can actually improve our lives. We just have to harness their powers for good and keep an eye on how much time we’re dedicating to a screen versus the world (especially if light, especially the blue-spectrum light emitted by phone screens, is a migraine trigger for you).
Last weekend, though, my phone was a godsend. I was not bedridden, exactly, but I was feeling too groggy, tired, and migrainey to get out of bed, power up my computer, and send off notes to my employees to let them know I was MIA for the day. Most days they don’t need hand holding from me, but on this particular day there were a lot of loose ends to tie up and time-sensitive issues I needed them to take care of.
I pulled my phone out, squinting at the brightness of the screen as I started to type out a long email full of instructions to the booksellers working at Avid that day. Wait a second, I thought. I don’t have to type this all out—I’ll dictate it! I then proceeded to press the tiny microphone symbol on the virtual keyboard and then give them verbal instructions that were converted to mostly-correct words. Within 60 seconds, I had all of my messages to my employees sent off through the air and I could close my eyes again.
Thank you, phone, for all the things you do right.
How many of you have used the powers of technology to help you function better during a migraine?