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September 6, 2015 | by  | in Features |
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Tinder As a Laxative

An iPhone Love Story

Scientists say that the blue light from cellphones inhibits melatonin production, which screws up your inner circadian rhythm, hence why staring at your phone for long periods of time can make it hard to sleep at night. You know what else can keep you up all night? Love. Love has robbed many of a good night’s sleep, and makes you do crazy things like taking your phone into the bath. But the happiness is worth the risk and that is what makes it love.

In the age of the sixth generation iPhone, I am just one of many who have found themselves unintentionally in love with their phone. Sometime in the past three years I became dependent on my phone’s company and I can no longer picture my life without it. They are the one beside me in bed at night and the first thing I see in the morning. They’re by my side all day and there to share the most important moments of my life—breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, romance is a fickle thing and too much time together can poison what was once beautiful. In order to reassess my relationship with my phone and to hopefully strengthen it, I carefully reflected upon a day of our life together and then a day of separation, following an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder philosophy.  

Day 1: iPhone and I

9:30am: I usually set about seven different alarms with fifteen-minute increments and after a long battle snooze-buttoning through all of these, I will eventually wake up enough to skim-scroll through various social network feeds in bed. This is a pleasure we have only recently been afforded and it is truly beautiful that the very first thoughts I have of the day are about Lenny Kravitz’s cock ring. Could that have ever happened during the so-called Renaissance?

9:35am: It seems insane to me that people have the ability to wear clothes other than what they slept in to class. Luckily I have my phone with me to listen to upbeat music to boost my mental capacity as I walk to university. By the time I get there, thanks to Mariah Carey, I am somewhat functioning as an awake human.

9:45am: There is some crazy statistic about the number of people who meet their (human) life partner at university, and because of my frequent phone use in class, it is very likely that this will happen to me too. This is how it will go: I will be in a lecture googling “Mike Wazowski memes super funny” and an underwear model sitting behind me will see this over my shoulder and immediately fall in love. Then we will walk off into the sunset sharing funny photos of dogs over Airdrop. Until this happens, however, I will continue to spend lectures Googling common interests I wish for my dream lover and I to share.

10:30am: Time flies when you go to lectures 20 minutes late every day. After class, my phone and I return home where I have a shower and they serenade me with more Mariah Carey. Then I make coffee and eggs, switching from Mariah to a podcast. Experts estimate that 65 per cent of conversations today are just people parroting back podcasts. Never one to disrespect the art of conversation, I listen intently to what Matcha tea as a fad tells us about society. I am so excited to appear super interesting and clever when I retell the podcast inaccurately and less eloquently to friends later.

11:30am: Another thing I heard in a podcast was that Matcha tea helps your bowels to keep regular pooping habits. Another thing I heard in a podcast was about a man called Pavlov and his dog. Combine the two, and you will understand how I have come to use Tinder as a laxative. Like everyone else, my phone is a staple toilet companion, and over time I have somehow conditioned myself to be unable to poo until I’ve swiped left to everyone aged 20–27 within 19km of me. Now this is the true beauty of Tindernot the hiding of rejection, but being able to use strangers’ faces to aid your bowel movements without them ever knowing.

11:45am: After twenty-six text messages, I manage to successfully make plans to have lunch with a friend. Before text, it would have perhaps taken me one minute on a landline voice call. Thank goodness technology has progressed.

12:00pm: I have a great time at lunch with my friend who has the same phone that I have, which is the core foundation of our friendship. Our food arrives and we take identical photos of our meal, but apply different filters to maintain individuality. We poorly recite memorised podcast fragments to each other. She is stunned when I tell her that Matcha tea is actually a key reason why the American prison system doesn’t work, and I am equally as enlightened when she tells me seven reasons why drinking water is actually really bad for you. What did people talk about before they had cellphones?

12:45pm: I say goodbye to my friend and promise to Snapchat her a photo of my front door to let her know I’ve gotten home safely. I have yet to check Facebook for the day and the first order of business is to “attend” a few events I’ll never go to. I start with an acquaintance’s culturally questionable themed party. Since it’s been almost 12 hours since I last “attended” an event, I also “attend” a poetry reading at Meow to be safeit is important to keep up a consistent number of apparent public appearances, otherwise the thin digital veneer over my hermit reality will evaporate.

12:55pm: While in business mode I also see on my feed that an ex has changed his profile picture, so I take the time to search for signs that he is a broken man. Squinting, I can pretend that he was clearly crying before the photo was taken and I take solace in this imaginary fact.  

1:10pm: I also notice there are still those who are wishing people “happy birthday” via Facebookfrom this I deduce that they are still living in medieval times, so I take note of their names in case I want to barter excess potatoes for some of their chickens.

3:00pm: I wake up from my nap completely disoriented and a bit queasy. Thankfully, my phone reminds me that in preparation for our day apart tomorrow, I should go to the library to get a book for the long, unoccupied hours.

3:17pm: I reach the library and begin browsing Russian literature while listening to N’Sync. Paired like a crisp white wine and fresh seafood, both the books and the music appear more vivid together than each alone. It is bittersweet that I am here to find an impending replacement for my phone, but it shows no resentment as I issue out Anna Karenina, shuffling onto the band’s upbeat hit Girlfriend.

4:00pm: Back at home, I open up the notes capability on my phone to check what I’ve jotted down for this very article. With my phone always on hand, it is also a great place to record lucrative ideas such as “day of the week undies but with the seven deadly sins” and “t-shirt with weed leaf and the word oregano underneath”. Finally there are also a lot of lists, such as a very indecisive grocery list: “Bread? Diet coke. Rice?” and one titled “2015”, which simply lists “Joaquin Phoenix”, “dudebro” and “survive solely on spaghetti”.

6:00pm: I spend the time until now deciphering my own notes and attempting to start writing this piece, which perhaps surprisingly involves watching a lot of YouTube videos. Dinner soon beckons and thanks to the handy size of my phone, I can cook alongside a how-to cooking video hosted by a Japanese toy poodle.

8:00pm–12:00am: I never know what happens between these hours, they always seem to disappear very quickly without me having accomplished anything at all. Siri doesn’t know the answer either.

12:00am: I am about to go to bed, but first I check Wikipedia to see what the girl who played Matilda is up to.

2:00am: I am reading the Wikipedia article on Hungarian female serial killers.

2:30am: I fall asleep very scared.

DAY 2: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

12:30pm: Without my phone, I have no way of setting an alarm but I awake at the crack of dawn anyway. I want to check my phone to see what’s the latest with celebrity cock rings but alas, I know I need to set it aside for the day.

12:45pm: I am not sure if I have class or what day it is without my phone so I go back to sleep.

1:30pm: I get out of bed. Pooping is out of the question. Without Matt, Jack, Tom and their Hondas and imaginary abs, I may as well not have eaten a strand of fibre my entire life. Instead I have a quiet Mariah Carey-less shower. It is strange to shampoo without 90s RnB and I feel incredibly empty inside. While I do sound just like Mariah when I sing, it is a lonely performance without her accompaniment and I finish conditioning in silence.

2:00pm: The emptiness continues, and the sadness deepens. I stare blankly into space, wondering what is happening to me. Without Google, Wikihow or YouTube tutorials, I have no idea what to do or how to feel. I cannot even cry, because without an illustrated guide, I do not know how. Slowly, I realise the source of my sadness is from hunger.

2:15pm: I remember that I can buy food from the supermarket.

2:20pm: I bump into someone I know outside Moore Wilson’s. Without my daily podcast, I have no idea what to say to them. They stare at me blankly as I stand there with my mouth wide open, dribbling slightly. I finally manage to say “flag referendum”. They say that they have to get going. “TPPA!” I yell after them.

2:25pm: Without my phone nor any means to record a shopping list, I have no idea at all what I am doing inside a supermarket. I start stocking shelves and assisting customers out of confusion. I clean the toilets and clean the spill in the pasta aisle. Before I know it, my shift is over and Carol tells me I was great today. Her compliment gives me the validation I need in the lack of online likes and favourites.

3:30pm: I return back home, hungry but a great employee. I find some leftover quiche and eat it cold, the absence of my phone also leading me to forget that microwaves exist.

3:40pm: I spend some time staring out the window, reminiscing about the good times I have had with my phone. Reminded of our outing to the library the day before, I start reading Anna Karenina.

4:00pm: Anna Karenina is wild. This is almost as good as Lost. Yet I feel lost, without my many Twitter followers or people I haven’t seen since high school on Facebook to share the news with. If one reads Anna Karenina and doesn’t tweet about it, have they read it at all? How did Tolstoy even get a publishing deal without being famous on Instagram first?

4:10pm: Holy crap, Anna Karenina is pregnant with Vronsky’s child! Still, without an outlet, I start to lose it. I open the window and yell “Anna Karenina is pregnant” at pedestrians below. Everyone avoids eye contact. I yell “TPPA” again.

5:30pm: I continue reading until I begin to feel itchy. I am itchy because without my phone I cannot update my moss photography blog. I feel guilty for my fans who are probably wondering what has happened to me and why I haven’t posted any attractive-looking lichens today. I can only hope that the lack of lichens won’t result in any of the fans developing their own rashes. Moss photography is, of course, a very real dependency and I begin to worry for the livelihood of my fans. This worsens the itchiness and soon I am scratching so much that I am bleeding. I can’t even go to the doctor because I can’t make an appointment without my phone. I think I’m going to die.

5:45pm: I run out onto the street bloody and confused. For some reason there are a lot of branches and leaves in my hair too and mud on my face. Without my phone, I don’t know where to go for help and my inner primitive compass awakens, leading the way to salvation. I end up at the Bucket Fountain.

6:15pm: The police have arrived to coax me down from the top of the Bucket Fountain and to put my clothes back on. I can’t stop yelling “TPPA” and “podcast”.

6:30pm: 3 News is here now and they are interviewing me about my ingenious one-woman anti-TPPA, social media-savvy protest. I repeat “Facebook” into the microphone several times in different accents. My rash is acting up again, this time from the lack of seeing that magical red notification circle. Seeing the blinking red light on the camera triggers this and I leap at the cameraperson, snarling.

7:00pm: Unbeknown to me, I am now a viral YouTube sensation for my altercation with the news crew. Ignorance is bliss indeed, for there is a cruel irony in how it is a lack of cellular device has finally gifted me with digital fame.

7:10pm: I am now the latest, hottest meme. If I had my phone to tell me of this, it would have been the happiest moment of my life.

7:15pm: I escape the crowds by shouting “look, the new flag!” and pointing into the distance.

7:30pm: I start feeling sad again and remember that this means I must be hungry. For the first time I feel I am beginning to learn to live without my phone. I settle on roast duck from KCs. However as I wait for my order, I feel restless and paranoid without my phone to look at. There are no self-indulgent thinkpieces to read or BuzzFeed quizzes to tell me where I should live according to my canned soup preference. As I look frantically around, I accidentally make eye contact with a bear.

7:30pm: The bear from KCs has taken me under her care and after some strategic rationing of my roast duck with the sleuth, I have already risen to the position of the beta female.

7:45pm: I am now officially living in the Wellington Botanic Gardens with my new bear family. I can’t even remember what my phone looks like, and I feel a sense of freedom I haven’t felt since the days of VHS. The only thing that could make me happier now is if Vice would write an article about me.

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