My Cell Phone Commandments


And Holly spoke all these words:

(mostly in self-chastisement, but you can join the party if you wish)

Thou Shalt Not Harbor Games, Social Media Apps, or Other “Busy” Apps on Thy Phone.

Look, apps are cool. They’re convenient. But if you have them, you’re going to use them, making all the following a moot point. Check Facebook, the New York Times, and even check your email later, on your tablet, laptop, or desktop. Chances are, whatever the latest development is, it can probably wait. If there’s really an emergency, they’ll call or text you. You don’t need an excuse to scroll and scroll and scroll and that girl from two lockers down in high school just got married let me look at ALL HER PICTURES and scroll and scroll …

Thou Shalt Not Be On Your Phone Whilst Waiting in Line.

It’s obnoxious, first of all. When you’re twenty-six, probably wearing denim, and as of recently, carrying a purse shaped like pizza, you’ve already got that Millennial thing down. It’s there. Should the nice elderly people in line at the post office be given more reason to shake their heads at our generation of live-streamers and selfie-takers? Plus, when we’re in our seventies and rowing our grandchildren around Disneyworld in melted glacier water, we’ll want to be able to recall those good ole days in the post office line.

What’s more, lines are prime places for small talk. The kind that happens over a shared pen, or a compliment on a purse shaped like pizza. These are the small moments of random human connection that feed our lives (more so even than the pizza). Staring at a phone signals, “don’t engage with me, I’m about to beat level 407 on Candy Crush, which I’m deluded myself into thinking a vitally important achievement. And by the way, I don’t know how to stand still, be in the moment, and wait.”

Thou Shalt Not Look Things Up in Conversation.

What happened to the phrase “I wonder if?” Do we use it anymore? I think not, because it’s been replaced by the phrase, “let me google that.”

There needs to be more wondering.

I am generally not one to discourage research. But when it comes to a conversation between friends, do you really need to interrupt everything to google the name of the third Kardashian sister? Wonder now, google later if you’re still thinking about it.

Thou Shalt Not Use Thy Phone to Alleviate Awkwardness or Boredom.

We’ve all been there. You’re waiting for a friend to show up at the restaurant, and somehow being on your phone makes your waiting look more intentional and less I’m-being-stood-up. Or you’re at a party where you only know the host, and instead of standing in a corner hesitating over which group to approach, you stand in a corner and get on your phone to make it clear that you have SO MANY FRIENDS who just happen to be elsewhere tonight.

But the thing is, life is awkward. You can’t run, and you can’t hide from it. And though it may provide small comfort to you, no one is fooled by you being on your phone. You’re still at that table alone. You’re still in that corner at a party. So put your phone in your pocket and let that awkwardness that is the human condition wash over you. You may find that your phone was the social inhibitor all along.

Thou Shalt Not Scroll Through Thy Phone Whilst Watching Something on a Separate Device.

Because that’s just sad. It’s distracting to those watching next to you. And it’s making you miss vital plot points of the ever-more-convoluted Game of Thrones.

Thou Shalt Not Check Thy Phone Whilst Partaking in Socialization.

I am guilty of this one. I am guilty of all of the above, as a matter of fact. But I don’t want to be THAT FRIEND anymore, the one who keeps her phone on the table at the bar. The one who whips out her phone the minute her friend leaves the table to go to the restroom. The one who says, “I’m so sorry to be on my phone” even as she texts while her friends look on. And she is sorry. But still she texts.

I want to be better. Let’s be better. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *