Friday, 20 May 2016

Uncheck Your Phone

Tomato seeds in an egg carton
I have a new cellphone, but I plan to use it less. That is, I have pledged to stop checking my phone.

Instead of using up those few moments of my day when I have to wait for something to happen--a file to load, a person to find his debit card in his wallet, a person to come back to the car after running out to buy some milk--I am going to do other things. Checking the phone, at least for me, sometimes takes me away not for a few seconds but for a few minutes. I can accomplish a great deal  that is creative, rather than consumptive (reading ads other people have written, playing games other people have written) in those minutes.

Tomato seedlings in tomato cans
I am not interested in being more efficient. Rather, I am interested in being receptive to the possibilities for creativity. Zones of emptiness that need filling for the sake of being efficient (that is, doing things) becomes zones of plenty.

Instead of checking my phone, I have been able to do the following:

1. Make bookmarks. I started with pages torn out of a spine-cracked Jane Eyre paperback. With a few strokes of a paintbrush in a pot of Modge Podge, I can layer the paper with glue that hardens the pages so they can last for as long as those bookmarks you get at the clinic about health services.

Combination of two anti-phone-checking tactics
2. Start tomato plants from seed. Getting the seed from an  online seed catalogue was as time consuming as playing two rounds of Wordsplay, my usual go-to for passing time. I bought soil at the hardware store, so that trip was the amount of time I would spend watching dachshund-related videos on YouTube. I used egg cartons for seed starting cells, and I planted the seedlings into empty cans of plum tomatoes. Watering the cells took about the same time it takes me to check out new posts on Pinterest.

3. Read snippets from any book or magazine I have lying around, such Invisible Man, pictured here with a bookmark I made.

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