Being without a smartphone has brought me back to one of my favorite pastimes growing up: in-bathroom commercials. When I was a kid, I would pass the time on the pot doing commercials for whatever bathroom product was close at hand: hand soap, toothpaste, toilet bowl cleaner if I could reach under the sink.
I'd always start out with the same opening, "Hi, I'm Kelsey Flynn and I want to talk to you about Crest Ultra-Whitening toothpaste." And then I'd read all the selling points from the front of the tube like they were my script. All while trying to maintain eye contact with the bath towel hanging on the door which was the camera.
Flash forward several years and bathroom time was time to check email, Facebook, or whatever whimsy I wanted to explore on my iPhone, say fainting goats or Amy Schumer. Once in a while, I'd do my other pastime if I was in a public restroom and decide if I could live in that restroom for the rest of my days should the apocalypse come while I was in there, nuclear, zombie, or otherwise.
But really, once seated, it was all about the poking of the phone.
Then two days ago, I found myself in a public restroom at a funeral home. I was in day two of my re-commitment to my flip phone, so that meant that thing was in the car as I don't carry it around everywhere with me. Suddenly, I found myself reaching for the can of bathroom cleaner that was in the little basket of goodies on the back of the toilet. Not to actually use it, but to begin my pitch. "Hi, I'm Kelsey Flynn and I want to talk to you about Lysol's Disinfectant Spray. Its crisp linen scent removes odors and kills 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. Keep it in your bathroom cabinet."
I have to admit, I do a damn good job pitching bathroom products and I had forgotten about that. And really what I mean there is I do a damn good job at entertaining myself and I had forgotten about that. I think that's at the heart of my trouble with my smartphone. I reached for it ALL. OF. THE. TIME. and that left no time for me to be by myself. There's lots of research out there about it. Jean Twenge does a bang-up job about how this phenomenon is affecting kids. As a species, we don't like to be by ourselves too much. And that tendency is exploited by these computers in our pockets so we no longer have to be alone with our thoughts or feelings. I don't have the self-discipline currently to control the smartphone relationship, thus the re-commitment to my flip phone.
I'm off to remember what other things I find surprising about myself.