I recently had an experience that allowed me to peer deep into myself. Not often this happens to oneself, most often we assume we are "X" and seldom really have real, true information about our own selves. Much of who we are is built upon a fabrication, of who we think we are. Two totally different things.
But I'm getting off topic, let me begin my story and why I think it may be important to you .....
I recently took a long business trip. Upon arrival and after going through customs at the airport, I immediately went and got some local cash from an ATM - my usually routine. Then it was to the washroom and then spying a Starbucks, couldn't resist (no Starbucks where I live!). After getting my coffee I sat down outside and went to look for my phone and get some info. about my hotel shuttle. No phone!
To make a long story short, retraced all my steps, even went back through security and into customs. Not a sign of my phone. Ok, so this trip is going to be a long one, I thought.
We've all probably lost a phone, not a very interesting story so far. However, it is what happened after that is the real plot twist ....
I rely a lot on my phone. It's like a third arm. I "Ok Google" a lot. I work for an educational technology company and use our apps extensively. On this trip, I was giving presentations on mobile learning. I felt a little lost. I felt like once when I was 17 and drove a friends car to Ohio, a two day trip. It had no stereo! What hell, still remember that painful trip, a 17 year old kid captured and tortured in a small space for hours with terrible silence and my own thoughts ....
Eventually, started searching for a new phone. Of course it had to be the iPhone 6 or maybe waiting for the next release of Nexus, Nexus 6. Online, I was being followed by ads for the next big phone. And all this time, I felt like a guy at a dinner party in jeans and a t-shirt. I felt inadequate, under dressed, less.... I realized I was a phonie, a phony.
I realized this when I finally got home and bought this nice smart phone for $60 bucks.
It's cheap, does everything I need, has great battery life and costs a 1/10th of the price of my old phone. But why did I still feel inadequate? Why did I feel like I was wearing a plastic Timex to a royal banquet? Why did I feel the need to dress up and why wasn't functionality important, the most important thing. Why did I buy into the notion that I needed a high priced phone in order to "be", be me? Why was I a phony?
We have a very important relationship with our phone, there's a lot of affordances going on. This will only grow as phones become our personal antennas and arms into the digital world. We use them to do so much. That's great. But do we also need hugely expensive phones to feel adequate, to belong to some greater tribe? When and where in my own self did I cross the line between utility (thing) and fashion (image)?
So here I am. That's my story. Don't know where I'll go from here but it is good to know I'm a real "phonie". I'm trying my best not to be. I'll keep you updated on my progress. What about you, are you a "phonie"?
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