That's just one example of the surprising benefits involuntarily laying off 24/7 Internet brought, too. Those of you who have quit smoking know how it feels to slowly reacquire your senses of smell and taste. It was basically that, but for my eyes and to my brain, such as it is. I started noticing shit that I had paid zero attention to for years: the people standing at the bus stop with me every weekday, the events occurring on the street, and the pack of grizzly bears that had apparently attempted to maul me for years and that I had evaded merely by a ridiculous, never-ending string of slapstick accidents. In short, I started observing things again -- instead of reading about them online.
Ironically enough, precious few other people shared these observations with me because they were busy tinkering with their phones. (In my town, everyone seems to constantly use one. I had never once realized this before I stopped using mine.) I fully admit this, in the beginning, sent me flying head first into that smug asshole mode that ex-smokers, cyclists, and the rest of the "I'm better than you" people share. Let's just never discuss that part of the process. Luckily, it didn't last long enough for someone to kick my ass, anyway.
Still, all good things eventually come to an end, and I would soon find that ...
It's Possible to Embrace the Caveman Ways (but You Probably Won't Want to)
Ershova Veronika/iStock/Getty Images
So, after way too many weeks, I finally got the damn phone fixed.
Surprise, motherfuckers! Did you think I was going all wishy-washy up there, feeling nostalgic about basic things like reading and blue skies and square-dancing around the log cabin with the rest of my newfound Mennonite kin? If you did, you're absolutely right. My time without a smartphone was a wonderfully refreshing experience, in the way a great vacation is refreshing: after you manage to relax, you have an awesome time, but damn if it doesn't feel good to return home when the time comes.
The thing is, life without constant Internet access is like life without running water -- simpler in many ways, but, ultimately, a lot shittier. This is fucking 2015, man. If you have access to a pocket-sized computer-radio-phone-back massager-whatever, why on earth wouldn't you use it? That's like saying Marty McFly would've been better off skipping the Hoverboard in favor of a pedal-powered Smart Fortwo.
That's not to say that I couldn't live without a smartphone. I totally could, as could (and can) many other people. Feel free to give it a go for a while if you would like; it can get pretty awesome. Still, as long as a significant chunk of both my work and social life are online, I can't think of a reason to arbitrarily restrict myself from all of that just because I don't happen to be sitting in front of a computer.
Even so, it must be said that I -- and I'm going to hazard a guess that I'm far from the only one -- could probably work on how often I use that pinnacle of progress in my pocket (and the smartphone, too). For one, I would definitely like to keep being able to read more than I did before all of this took place, and I guess it wouldn't hurt to occasionally keep an eye on the outside world, too. The grizzlies, you understand.
Or, I could just look it all up on YouTube since I have a new smartphone. Yeah, that's probably the quicker path. I have shit to do.
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked freelance editor and weekly columnist. Join his gang on Facebook and Twitter.
For more from Pauli, check out 5 Stupid Reasons Life is Terrifying for Awkward People and 4 Creepy Ways Growing Older Shapes Your Thoughts.
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