Last weekend I travelled to Manchester and met up with a group of friends to see Aphex Twin playing as part of the Warehouse Project. The laughs I had with my friends from the very moment I met up with them at the train station was fantastic and I think we made the most of the situation. The small part of the city we ended up seeing was littered with junkies, blood on the pavement and dodgy take-aways with shady clientele – not the greatest first impressions but I’m sure the there are a lot of nice parts to the city.
Aphex Twin was fantastic and his persona… almost robot like as he barely moved on stage whilst creating a brilliant vibe in the room shroud in darkness behind a fantastic display of lasers. I was enjoying myself; right up until the moment I noticed my phone was missing from my pocket! Lost? Stolen? Who knows… and sadly I doubt I’ll ever really find out what happened to it. I apologise for the stock photo on this post but unfortunately all photos I took at Manchester were lost with my phone.
I don’t know if any of you have gone without a phone for a period of time but it’s an awful experience. Despite the fact that my expensive phone had disappeared so quickly without a hope of ever retrieving it, what bothered me the most (after we had left the Warehouse Project) was that I had nothing to do with my hands. It’s strange how much you start playing on your phone – it becomes an almost natural response in some situations and when you notice you can’t do it there’s something very unsettling about it. When we were waiting in the train station for almost two hours (waiting for the first train back to my friends student flat) I could see all of my friends playing on their phones – reading their twitter feeds, commenting about how much fun they had in Manchester on Facebook or just having being able to browse the wonderful array of websites to keep anyone occupied for hours on end. I sat there with feelings of boredom and jealously.
It’s almost worrying how much I find myself relying on my phone to keep me from being bored and giving my hands something to do especially since it costs me over £30 a month for that privilege. I’ve read that a few minimalists have taken opportunities like this to completely free themselves from the hassle and burden of: paying for, carrying and relying on mobile phones in their lives but for me I’m going to have to disagree with that decision – a view that may be slightly unpopular with a few of you.
I might agree that people don’t really need the best phone out there (despite me having one) and that constantly being in a 24 month contract can harm your financial freedom but owning a mobile phone has brought me many benefits. I can see from not having a mobile phone for the past week that I’m completely self-reliant on other people to sort out plans for me as well as my freedom of movement being significantly reduced because I cannot do those spontaneous meet ups with friends that make life fun. After Manchester I did plan on seeing my friend in Harrogate (who I had not seen for months) but because I was unable to keep in contact I had to pass up that opportunity; I wasn’t happy about that.
At this age, I cannot see my life being mobile-free for quite some time and I am slightly annoyed that my pockets will always be bogged down with a piece of equipment that needs constant charging and distracts me from important moments. I decided to become a minimalist, in part, to help me reconnect with what truly matters in my life and if I need to pay for a mobile to keep me in touch with many friends all around the UK then I think that is a trade worth making.
My mobile is a connector of worlds. It allows me to free myself from living in a small area to travel as a please; like a playful wind. Maybe in the future I will re-evaluate my relationship with my mobile phone but for now it’s here to stay and, in my opinion, for the better.
Are there any items you can’t seem to part with?