By Laura Moore
Unfortunately, that curbing was literal and not figurative.
It would have been much more productive, and far less expensive, had I gotten myself to the point where I actually put away the $800 piece of technology when I wasn't using it.
Instead, I set it on the top of our stroller while I was talking on my husband's phone. When he returned from a cart parked along one of the Downtown Disney paths and reached to pull the shade over our son, that carelessly placed phone went smashing into the curb, meeting its untimely demise.
My sister-in-law was voicing her thoughts about when and where we should meet for our next day departure to the beach, and I hardly heard anything that came out of her mouth. My hubby reached down to get the phone as she shared very important information about when we could check in and what there was to do for kids under four, but it sounded like white noise in my ears. When he flipped over my beloved hunk-of-instant-connection, I saw shards of glass shimmering in the waning ribbons of dusk.
It was only five months old.
And we were on vacation without our camera.
This was devastating.
And yet it wasn't.
Sure, I might not have sent as many updates to family members or taken as many pictures, but I was present for a whole heck of a lot more moments. I wasn't passing time by checking for emails or text messages. I wasn't trolling through my Facebook and Twitter feeds looking at other people's vacations, graduations or parties, or linking to articles they found fascinating. I wasn't looking up the answers to questions scrolling through my over-stimulated, ADD brain.
I was watching my little Z laugh and reach out to touch every single person within his tiny arm's reach. I was watching him stir up the crowd with his giggles and grins, his open-mouth, tongue-resting-across-his-two-bottom-teeth smile. I was watching him soak in the sites: the life-sized Lego Loch Ness Monster cresting the water, the ice cream cups dripping from the sides, the kids tugging on their parent's shirts, the dinosaurs roaring inside restaurants, the performers galloping across the stage. I was peeking around the shade more often to look at him, to smile at him, to "beep" his nose and tickle his toes, and ask him what he thinks.
See, a strange thing happens when you have to decide whether or not a phone call, a text message or a social media search is worth a sharp slice across your cheek or a sliver in the pad of your finger. Non-urgent interactions suddenly seem less important, and the urge to snap-out-of-the-present-in-an-effort-to-preserve-a-moment suddenly feel far less enticing.
Instead, you choose to live. To laugh. To feel experiences from beginning to end. You no longer feel the nagging need to interrupt them.
You assume emergencies will funnel over to your companion.
You look up and engage with the world.
Following the death of my phone screen, I lived free and clear of hand-held distraction for five days, turning it on occasionally to check messages and then turning it off again to avoid losing pieces of glass. I used my husband's phone for fewer than a handful of correspondences with my sister-in-law when little Z was napping and she was trying to figure out if we could meet.
But other than that, I just lived. And though I have few pictures to show for it, I have a fuller heart.
Now that I'm back, hopefully, I'll be able to get it fixed, as communicating is rather important. But I hope even more that I'll remember to leave it on the table when I'm playing with my son. And leave it in my purse when I am driving. And leave it out of arm's reach when I'm eating dinner with my husband. I hope I'll start people watching again, that I'll return to my habit of striking up conversations with strangers and giggling at awkward bends of time. I hope I'll once again find myself noticing the obscurities and the joys and the humor that is always unfolding around me if I'd only look up.
In short, I hope that once I get all of the pieces smoothed out and all of the jagged lines smoothed away, I will be able to see as clearly as my screen can.