The Twenty-Four Hour Cell Phone Fast

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8:40am: I just woke up from a restless nights sleep. I need to check my cell phone and see if there are any texts that are waiting for me. I may need to return a few of them before I began the twenty-four hour cell phone fast.

8:56am: Just finished returning the three texts that were waiting for a reply. Time to begin the fast. Turning my cell phone off now.

9:57am: My wife just informed me that someone was trying to get in touch with me via text so I need to check real fast and make sure it is not an urgent matter. Then I can resume the fast.

10:52am: I have been fasting for almost an hour now but I really need to check my phone quickly and see if anyone needs me. When I checked my texts first thing this morning a friend of mine texted me a question. I should probably respond. I don’t want him to think I am ignoring him. Just real quick, then I will turn off my phone.

After not using my phone for a bit these thoughts came into my mind while sitting on my couch: What if the things that we carry in our hands and on our bodies either strengthen or weaken us? What if carrying around a radiation emitting cellular device, all day/day after day is actually gradually weakening our vital organs, our immunity, our brain functioning, our bones? What if the “experts” in the field, most of whom are funded by the telecommunications industry, are dead wrong about how cellular phones affect our bodies and minds? What if acupuncturists, natural healers and energy workers are correct when they suggested the cellular phones carried around on the body upsets/disrupts the body’s harmonious energy flow, which causes numerous physical and mental health problems?

11:33am: My phone rests besides me. Because it is off, it looks like a non-threatening, lifeless object. When my phone is off I notice that I feel more grounded, less restless. I feel like I have more time to think and be and there is an absence of the chronic impulse to continually “be in touch.”

12:41pm: I had a strong feeling that someone desperately needed to get in touch with me, so I turned on my phone and there were six texts waiting for me. Six texts from six different people! I called my wife quickly (she had been calling me) and returned a few texts. The moment I returned the texts, I received responses and I had to respond to the responses. Several textual conversations then ensued. I think that the downpour has ended and it is safe to now turn off my phone.

1:34pm: I am sitting down for lunch in a quiet sandwich place down the street from my office. My phone sits on the table besides me. I am not even sure why the hell I need to have it out. The urge to turn it on and check my email and surf around on the internet while I eat my lunch is strong, really strong. I need to just sit here, eat my sandwich and be present (non-distracted).

2:43pm: I need to turn on my phone. This fast is ridiculous. Not practical. I mean what if my wife is trying to get in touch with me?

2:48pm: (sigh) I turned on my phone again and there were four texts awaiting a response from me! Does it ever stop? I responded to the texts and now I need to wait for their response so they don’t think I am rude by not acknowledging their response. This fast is not going well but I do notice that when my phone is off I feel better, calmer, less distracted, more at peace.

3:13pm: Ok, ok………I’m turning it off.

4:24pm: I notice that I have been sitting here reading for the past forty minutes without once feeling like I need to distract myself with my phone. Wow! This is a first.

5:27pm: Just awoke from a brief nap. I fell asleep while reading. When I woke up I noticed my wife’s phone on the table besides me. It was on, so I reached over, grabbed it and checked a few things on-line real quick (New York Times, Daily Beast and a couple of blogs I like to read). After about five or ten minutes I felt guilty, so I put the phone down and got up.

5:56pm: On a regular day of texting I notice that the tip of my right thumb (which I use for texting) is tender and soar as if it had been touching something radioactive. Today I notice that my thumb is not bothering me so much.

9:02pm: I need to check my phone, I need to check my phone, I need to check my phone, I should really check my phone, this fast is ridiculous, just real fast I  will check my phone, real fast, just to see if anyone is trying to get in touch with me, real fast, then I will turn it off and not check it for the rest of the evening.

3:32am: I wonder if anyone one is trying to get in touch with me? Should I check? I wonder what is going on in the world? Should I check The New York Times? Twitter? Maybe I should check real fast.

8:17am: Usually the first thing that I do in the morning is check  my phone to see if I have any emails or texts. I am going to resist the urge this morning. I slept well last night.

8:42am: I notice that when I am always checking my phone, it is because I feel this pressing need/urge to be “in touch” and feel like I am not “missing out” on communications with others. It really is a subtle form of madness. Low level and chronic madness. As a result of not using my cell phone as much, I realize just how fragmented and less private my life has become. I have become more generally distracted and unable to focus for long periods of time (unless of course I am on my cell phone). I’m keeping my phone off for the rest of the fast.

8:46am: Ok, I just need to check real quick.

8:48am: Seven unread texts but I am not going to respond just yet. I will wait until the end of the fast. Turning off my phone and putting it away. Out of sight.

8:52am: One more hour.

9:33am: Where the hell did I put my phone?

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