Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hello, My name is Lisa, and I'm Nomophobic... That's a N not a H... just in case you got confused and started to get angry.

So I spent the weekend in the countryside. I was one with nature, we cooked meat on open fires, we had to go to taps in the middle of nowhere just to get water, and there was a whole sawdust-instead-of-plumbing situation that was going on with the toilets. There was a very large part of me that wanted to be able to revel in it. I wanted to feel at one with my roots and confident in the knowledge that I could survive in the wilderness. I wanted to feel that I wasn't completely reliant on electrical appliances and indoor heat and such...

To a certain degree, I did feel that way. I enjoyed travelling to get water and trying to help build a fire before One-And-Only-Daniela slapped my hand away, scolding me for doing it wrong. There was even a moment, on Saturday night, where we had just cooked steaks and sausages on the outdoor fire and had prepared a meal. We were all sitting in the little porch area outside our yurt with candle lanterns all around us and a glass of wine in our hands. We were chatting and laughing and having fun, and all around me I could hear the trees rustling in the dark and birds chirping etc. I remember thinking that this was perfect. It was really nice and relaxing and not even that cold. However, I am also acutely aware that should we have stayed for even one more day out there, we would have started to become miserable. 

You see, in amongst all the gusto we had for trying to be one with nature, there were a lot more things that felt like sacrifice. Mainly our lack of phone battery. When we had battery, the signal was awesome and we could use the internet without any problem, we just didn't really have that much time in which our battery lasted. The reason for this was simple, especially for myself... although One-And-Only-Daniela and No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso did have a little more self control, I have no will power when it comes to my phone...

Yes, ladies and gents. I am that person. The one that will take her phone out wherever she goes and place it directly in front of her so that she can at least see it at all times. This doesn't mean that when I am with people I'm on it, but I have to at least see it. I also have to have it to hand the moment any company leaves me, even if it's just for the toilet, so that I can immediately use it to check facebook/twitter, play games, or just generally scroll through apps or photos. Yup... if you were to catch me at a bar on my own, there is zero chance that my head won't be buried in my screen... unless I look up to take a sip of my drink... although I have learnt to do this without looking up... it depends how drunk I am and how much I trust myself to not knock over the drink if I'm not looking. 

I also have chargers available at any venue where I know I'm going to be for a while. There is a permanent one at home and at work and a portable one for my bag should I need it at a third location. I'm not exactly proud of this, but at the same time don't really feel ashamed enough to want to change my behaviour at all. I've looked this up... apparently addiction on phones is called Nomophobia... because that word isn't going to confuse the hell out of everyone. Couldn't they have picked a word that sounded a little different from a particular bigoted type of people? Anywho, I digress...

So, with this in mind, you can imagine what this weekend was like in a place where electricity just doesn't exist. I considered buying a solar charger but completely forgot so, instead, found myself getting ready on Friday morning and only removing my phone from my charger 3 seconds before I left the house. Of course, although I knew that I wouldn't have a place to charge my battery, because of my addictive tendencies and my being aware that I still had an hour bus journey to travel before I got to where One-And-Only-Daniela was, I used my phone the entire journey, mainly because, in my opinion, that journey simply can't be done without listening to podcasts and playing games... I have a problem, I am aware. I know there are a large amount of you who might have felt it was more important for me to keep battery in case anything bad happens in the woods and we need to call someone, but, put simply, sensible considerations and forward planning like that don't occur to those with an addictive nature. All we really see is the fun we can have in that particular moment. That, coupled with the fact that it would also mean I didn't have to sit there awkwardly on public transport listening to the "Youths" and trying to translate what it is they are saying nowadays (it's getting harder and harder) for lack of anything else to do. 

So, by the time we reached our destination, both One-And-Only-Daniela and I were desperately running low on battery juice and No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso hadn't arrived so we needed some form of open contact for her. This was how we both ended up sitting outside our Yurt on Friday night, from 4pm to 12am, freezing cold and huddled around this small little device that had been given to us. It was like this mini furnace, you started a fire (not big enough to really warm you) and when it reached the right temperature then it would generate enough electricity to charge your phone. It looked like this: 

Now, this sounds like a really good idea, and in fairness, we would have been lost without it that first night, but working it turned out to be a little tricky. You see, unless we got it massively wrong, it wasn't really about creating enough heat but more creating the exact right amount of heat. There appeared to be one point of heat that would work as a charger, anything else too hot or too cold and the electricity would be lost again. This resulted in our constantly adding and removing twigs, switching the settings on the fan and staring at our screens with a look of hopeful joy for the 60 seconds it would turn on before it inevitably turned off once again... any normal person with about 25% battery left would have just switched to airplane mode, left the phone alone, give up on the charger and just check for any new texts every 10 mins or so. However, as I said, I quite clearly have a problem and, like all addicts, needed more juice. This process did just take longer as we only had one fire charger type thing between the two of us, so not only were we only getting a blissful 60 seconds of charge time every half hour, we were also splitting that charge time between the two of us. I don't know about anyone else, but I class that as a perfect use of our time on our first night on holiday...

The next morning, the batteries were dead once more, so we all mysteriously decided we needed food in a pub... AKA, a place with plug sockets. We arrived at this pub and immediately spread out to take over all power sources in the building. We found, we conquered, we listened out for that glorious beeping sound that meant the phones have turned back on and, once heard, we sat back, smiled and ordered our food in comfort. We then stayed there for longer than we would have... apparently only feeling like it was time to leave when all phones had reached 100%. We told each other that it was because we were having a good time, but we all secretly knew why we had stayed... it didn't need to be said. 

Now, as I said, I do have no control with that stupid electrical device so, although I knew it would be a day and a half until I would be able to charge my phone once more, I still found myself pouring over that thing as if I had been separated from it for months. I checked and uploaded something onto everything; facebook, twitter... even Instagram  and Snapchat and I never use those apps normally. I took pictures of our fire and yurt and, instead of being sensible and leaving it until I got home to upload, I shared that shizzle immediately. I called and texted people all over the place. When it came to listening to music, I decided that I didn't want to play the 500+ songs on my phone, no I wanted the ones on youtube. Because that made far more sense. Needless to say, I went through that battery within about 5 hours. By the time we collapsed into bed, I had nothing left on my battery and my phone was officially dead once more. 

I've just sat here for a while, considering justifying my actions, talking about how there was wine involved, and how I was in a group environment in a new place where there was more to share, but you know what? There's no excuse. Needless to say, I'm investing in a solar charger if I ever do anything outdoorsy again... I'm embracing my addiction. 

Hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm Nomophobic. 

Peace out my lovelies.

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