Caught Between a Phone and a Warm Place

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In winter I like to stay in bed. I like to lie under my covers at earlier hours of the night. Why stay up, in day clothes, sitting around doing nothing because it’s dark and cold outside? I used to stay up in my living room under a blanket on a couch on my laptop. Now I have a phone and I can do that all from bed.

Even worse yet, I have a shitty phone that as of late thinks it’s out of battery power randomly. Some things trigger that more quickly than others. Starting up the phone again is usually a big enough drain of power for it to think it’s dead again. Like so many things in my life – I am not as calm and even-tempered as the face my neutralized timidity puts on – I want to throw a tantrum and throw things around violently, screaming and crying and weeping at the injustice. But it’s just a fucking phone.

Worse yet, thinking that phone should always be working for me implies that I should always be doing something on that phone. The rusty and tarnished side of the coin of this ease of access to communication is its uses not being validated.

The phone works when it’s plugged in to charge. I have a charger cord sitting at the side of my bed. I plug it in overnight. I can rely on this device more when I’m lying in bed…but I can’t expect anything to come from it. It’s an inanimate device, a tool that means nothing without some purpose on the other end.

When I think that crawling under the covers earlier, to get warmer sooner and possibly (though not usually) better rested, is justified because I can bring in a mini-computer with me to continue entertaining myself and interacting with others – that’s dangerous. It’s a withdrawal from the day far earlier than necessary, all for what – playing games on a device so I can hold it hoping it will vibrate when someone sends me a two-dimensional, 160-character text? The warmth is a seasonal circumstance that will come every year; in fact, I wish I could hibernate through the colder and paradoxically darker and whiter months like so many other species do. The temptation to go to bed at early evening hours is a mild vice if one at all, but what I bring into bed with me makes changing into pajamas a dangerous choice. Am I going to bed because I’m tired? If so, go to sleep. Am I going to bed because I want to be warm? I can stay up doing healthier things like reading or quality testing of what’s technically classified as a medical device. If my phone’s fucking off and needs to be plugged in, I don’t need to go into bed with it. But at some point in the night, usually quite a bit earlier than in the ten o’clock hour when I’m writing this, I crawl under those covers and cuddle with something that can’t love me back.

I’m better kept up on a slightly more functional computer because of the opportunity to move my fingers more gracefully to create something that my trained hands make look effortless when connected to my stream of conscious – typing. It’s harder to abandon a thought when there’s an entire keyboard there; or rather, it’s easy to abandon a thought when only thumbs are involved and you have to depend on the kindness of autocorrect to get these thoughts materialized. There is no question that the option of climbing into bed so much earlier has deterred me from starting to write more here. What I would write here out of bed is probably of no importance, but I think I would be a better person, a wholer person, writing something than nothing at all. What doesn’t come to me or escapes translation in the awkward posture of lying down with a pen and a pad of paper that’s stained and distorted from coffee spills is missed opportunity. On the other hand, staying out of bed on a computer trying to write is a modern cliché of insomnia and I don’t need to add fuel to that fire. But I think it’s safe to say that not getting any sleep because of lying in bed playing games on a cell phone is a few rungs down in respectability of unrest.

Out of all things to feel on an alone winter night – well, almost winter at least – childish frustration at a modern marvel of technological convenience is one of the pettiest. Crawling into bed at 8:30 would be honourable if it weren’t so much about the phone.

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