My telephone is going to explode, I think. It’s definitely going to happen one day, and I’m not even the worst when it comes to phones.
When I see my friend Lauren’s phone, she always has 56 unread messages (and I’m not even talking about emails, I’m only talking about texts)(number of unread emails: 8000), so I figure I actually don’t have it so bad with the four unread texts fighting for my attention.
The thing with texts, though, is that I do something I can’t even do with emails anymore: I respond in real time.
And it starts really early.
7am: I have all my French conversations with my family and French friends in the morning. My mother, my sister, and my best friend who happens to be on tour and is stuck in a bus all the time, so he has nothing to do but send texts, and we end up having real conversations about life, death, love, and everything – all over text. And then a few of my girlfriends too. It’s like we’ve forgotten what it was like to have an actual conversation on the phone.
Even my mother texts me. She uses emoticons and everything.
8am: My New York friends start to wake up and I always end up texting with one or two of them about whatever is going on in our lives, like – so how was your date – it was a disaster he asked me if I wanted to have a threesome can you believe it, on the first night? What about you, how was your evening, etc., etc.
Sometimes I even end up taking my phone into the shower without realizing it. Or on the toilet. Don’t look at me like that, I know you do it too.
9am: That’s when the avalanche starts. The Studio opens, and if I’ve decided to start my work day at home, my phone and computer buzz non-stop.
There’s the “beep” of my texts, the “boo beep” of Skype, and the “voom” of Viber, it’s like a concrete music concert that lasts until 10am, when I get fed up with it and close all my apps, since I’m still in my pajamas and haven’t done anything productive with my day yet at all, except for sharing information that may or may not be all that important.
My problem the last few weeks is that I made the big mistake of installing text messaging on all of my devices. Both of my computers, my iPad, and my iPhone receive my texts, and since I’m a well trained doggy, I’ve developed the habit of interrupting whatever I’m doing so I can respond to my messages immediately.
It annoyed me so much the other day that, in a moment of rebellion, I decided to uninstall everything. I almost uninstalled text on my phone but then I was like, wait. No.
Let’s be honest – we’re all addicted to our phones. We’re all a bit crazy when it comes to checking them in every possible situation. Have you seen the people who jump back on their phones right after a movie like their life depended on it?
The thing with phones is that every little notification – whether it’s a text, a like, a comment on Instagram, or whatever else – gives us a little buzz, and we get excited about it. It’s not even related to the notification itself, necessarily. It’s just that buzz that counts. Makes us feel alive.
In fact, I have lots of friends who have relationships with guys that happen entirely over text.
And I tell them what I think about that: “But don’t you think the relationship is actually with his phone? Maybe it’s just a way for him to feel reassured, and to be sure someone’s thinking about him. When’s the last time you guys actually saw each other?”
(Me, aka the super buzzkiller friend)
(And obviously, this conversation happens over text)
So anyway. Whether a text relationship is real or not, I’ll leave that up to Pyschology Magazine to decide.
I don’t even have time to wonder about it, because around 4pm, we’re back in business.
A friend who’s shopping sends me 50 photos of a pair of shoes and I send 10 text messages trying to convince her to buy them and telling her that $800 is really nothing compared to $2500, a number I’ve picked out of nowhere, but it works right away – I should totally be a sales girl at Barney’s.
The shoes are crazy expensive, I agree, but my friend can afford them, and they are gorgeous. So if she wants my true opinion, here it is: buy them.
Around 5pm, everyone who’s anxious about plans that evening (I’m one of them) starts texting to see what everyone’s doing to make sure nothing extremely exciting is going on without them knowing about it.
Around 6pm, it’s all the “where should we meet?” texts for those who have plans, and a big moment of texting loneliness for those who don’t. Good time to go to the gym if you want my opinion.
From 7-8pm, it’s pretty calm, unless you’re a millennial, who totally knows how to have a conversation AND text AND Instagram at the same time. The other day, I actually spent the evening responding to the desperate messages of a friend who is 24. She was texting me while she was right in the middle of a date because she didn’t know how to react to the weird things the guy was doing.
“Are you crazy? Put your phone away! The guy will probably go back to being normal!!!”
“Oh no, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”
Pffff, there was no going back. And the worst thing was I knew she was definitely texting three other friends at the same time as me, because they were all texting me to talk about the fact that she was texting in the middle of her date and that it was kind of over the top, who does that.
Ah, the millennials – they’re never quite all the way with you, and never quite really somewhere else.
10pm – that’s when the drunk texts begin.
Aaaah, drunk texts, I tell everyone to send these to me, please.
Ok, first of all, it makes me burst out laughing, and also because it’s better to send them to a relatively kind and thoughtful friend (me) than to put something ridiculous on Twitter.
At some point in my day, I’m ready to go to bed, whether it’s after a party (like the one the other day at Indochine – I spent the whole night glued to my phone texting my friends to see where they were because we kept losing each other, and I was promising other friends that the party was definitely worth it, so they’d better come out, and after all of that effort, I ended up leaving on a whim before they even got there, without texting them to let them know, because I just have moments like that
when I’m too drunk to text when I like to feel independent from everything) or after texting with a few friends.
Sometimes I’ll go to bed and try to think about how many people I’ve communicated with that day. Without counting emails and phone calls for work, it’s probably between thirty and fifty virtual conversations every day, with people on the other side of the world, or just on the other side of the Studio.
I’ve probably been distracted at least 500 times during the day, I’ve had to pull my thoughts together and refocus 334 times, only to get interrupted (and respond) all over again three minutes later.
And I repeat, I’m not even the worst. And I’m definitely not a victim. I’m totally responsible for over texting.
I don’t know if it’s good or bad, though, because the truth is I love having all the people I care about within phone’s reach. I talk so much more often now with my mom and my best friends, and I’m able to be so much more present for my friends. Or well, I mean, I get them to be more present for me, hehehe.
I guess I might just need to try to manage the flow of information a little better, and maybe get into meditation like everyone else.
One day, when we have lives where our brain power is multiplied, or we have as many virtual relationships as real ones, or we’re able to be in two places at one time, and our phones are part of our bodies (I tried the Apple Watch for the first time in Paris (AND HOLY SH*T I MET JONY IVE) and it’s obviously an amazing thing – but when the watch started to vibrate on my wrist, I suddenly felt like I was chained up like a slave) – learning to meditate and disconnect from all of that won’t just be a cute new age thing anymore.
It will be a matter of survival, don’t you think?
Oh hey, by the way, when I started writing this post earlier at the Studio, I said: “I’m writing an article about interruptions, so don’t you interrupt me!!!”
And then I counted. While I was writing this post, I responded to four people over text, and six people on Skype. I also did a photo shoot, edited photos, said hi to someone who stopped by the Studio, and ordered a really good macrobiotic lunch. Then I had an appointment, so I was interrupted for about an hour.
Yeah, I know, you can tell by the quality of the writing, thanks.
It’s easy to make fun of all of this. But what about you? What’s your relationship with your phone like? Are you like me, or do you think I’m a lost cause?
Translated by Andrea Perdue