I’m getting a new phone on Saturday. My iPhone 4S (yes, people still have those) has been slowly dying. First, my son ate the Otterbox Defender case. When I went to try to replace the case at Verizon I was told that they no longer keep the 4S cases on the floor. After convincing the salesclerk to go into the back and retrieve the box of unwanted iPhone 4S cases I decided it might not be worth $60 to buy a case for a phone that doesn’t even warrant display in a Verizon store. (This made the salesclerk’s day.)
So my phone has been naked for the past several months, and during that time I have dropped it approximately three hundred fifty seven times, and my son has chewed on it more times than that. Only one speaker works, it shuts off completely at random intervals, the battery runs out after twenty minutes, and the screen has a small crack in the corner.
Still, all in all, I’m pretty impressed with this small piece of technological wonder, and its ability to defy all odds and power on with 95% reliability.
However the newest development has caused me to bite the bullet and purchase a new phone. Why? Well, my phone no longer opens any programs except phone, chat, and music. While it technically opens Safari, it only provides a 3G network. According to the Verizon representative I talked to, that’s the equivalent of dial-up. So basically, my phone has the computing ability of my 2007 Motorola Razr.
This development has meant that none of the apps I have downloaded will load. The phone crashes when I try to look at Facebook, for example. Just an example.
Well, technically, it’s THE example. Because I look at Facebook a lot. A LOT. And not being able to access Facebook on my phone for the past week has shed some light on the depth of my addiction.
My average day, it turns out, generally starts by turning off the alarm on my phone, and immediately checking to see if I have a red number hovering over the blue f on my phone’s home screen.
But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no. When stuck in traffic, car at a stop, I find myself reaching for my phone. Yes. Please shame me for this, because it is terrible.
Then there are the moments throughout the day, those moments when there is even a tiny little pause. It’s those moments when I get the sensation that I am forgetting something, that there is something I am meaning to do. Then it hits me. Facebook. I should be checking Facebook.
The evening continues with much the same. Facebook is a constant fixture in my life. I’ve checked Facebook four times already while writing this post.
But seriously, does that even matter? I can’t possibly be checking Facebook any more than anyone else. How many times have you checked Facebook today?
But not having Facebook has forced me to spend my time differently. I’ve been sending longish emails to some of my friends. I’ve been tracking what I eat into My Fitness Pal. I talked to my coworkers at lunch today. I ordered reeds for my clarinet so I can start practicing again. I’ve been reading books.
And then when I do get on Facebook, generally at night after my son is asleep, I notice that there are 12 notifications and I quickly browse through them to see if there are any I even care about. And the answer is that I mostly don’t.
But I sure do like that red number. Especially when it is such a high number after a long day away from the page. But there’s a lot I don’t like.
I don’t like that Facebook is controlling so much of my life. I don’t like waiting for my Facebook to load, hoping that someone somewhere has noticed something I’ve said or done, and feeling badly when the red number doesn’t appear.
I don’t like that I’m the person who looks at other people’s kids and thinks about whether they are as cute as my own. Obviously none of them are. Except for that one. And that makes me angry.
I don’t like the news stories that leave me hopeless.
I don’t like looking at pictures of my friends with kids and hoping to see that they, too, still wear their baby weight.
I don’t like hating the posts from my family members who disagree with me politically. I don’t like how self-righteous I become, justifying how balanced and fair I am because I get angry with people on both sides of every issue.
I don’t like the jealousy when I see someone has bought a house, or published a book, or discovered the secrets to the universe while I fumble along learning a new job.
I’m tired of the compare game, because I always lose. And even when I win, I still lose.
For the record, I have checked Facebook two more times while writing that last part.
So maybe, as much as I don’t like those things, I can’t help myself.
Wouldn’t it be great if I could end this post by telling you that I am quitting Facebook? Wouldn’t it be a fantastic declaration of mindfulness and balance, rising above it all by quitting the comparison game? Wouldn’t I be so incredible?
Well, I’m not quitting Facebook. I love the updates from family and friends. It’s still my primary source of news, local and abroad. It’s still where I look to find the funniest memes.
It is, after all, a pretty incredible means to keep in touch with my family, spread between three continents. And I do actually enjoy seeing my friends’ babies, even the ones that aren’t as cute as my son. Especially the ones that aren’t as cute as my son.
So there are no declarations of quitting Facebook to end this post. But maybe when I pick out my phone on Saturday I will think twice before downloading my Facebook app.