Wherever I Lay My Phone

With Chloe having been traveling so often recently, I’ve taken to carrying my phone around with me in case she sends a message. It’s been a singularly strange experience for me, in part because the strangeness for me is something that’s so absolutely, resolutely normal for everyone else.

I don’t, usually, keep my phone with me. It’s not a habit I’ve had for some years now — going back at least a decade, if not more. The idea of carrying my phone around isn’t something that occurs to me without having a reason to do so: that I’m waiting for a message or a call, or that I’m listening to music (for years, my phone was basically a device for listening to music that could also do other things if it really had to, I guess far more than it was, you know, a an object to use to communicate with others), or that, I don’t know: I want to take photos of something for some particular reason. It’s not been something I’ve just had with me at all times; why would I want something like that?

So: the very act of carrying my phone around has in itself been unusual, and something that I’m very aware of, when it’s happening. I can feel its weight when it’s in my pocket; I can feel the impulse to just pick it out and start playing with it, killing time on it by scrolling through screens or asking it random questions, or something, anything, because it’s there and I feel like it has to be there for a purpose or else, what’s the point?

(I spend all day looking at the internet, asking random questions; one of the reasons I don’t carry my phone around with me otherwise is to exist away from the internet.)

The curious thing — as welcome as it is — is that it doesn’t feel any more natural, any less alien, to be carrying around my phone when it happens, not even after so many opportunities in the past few months. I feel as if something should be normalizing about it, but that’s not the case. Maybe I’m simply phonephobic in some way, destined to not want to have it around all the time. Maybe I’m just not a phone guy.

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