On Sunday, I was on a walk with my almost one year old, clutching a little escape and personal time in the endless stream of chaos that is being quarantined with my family for a month. I've been struggling to get back into books, which is usually my sanctuary, but Samantha Irby's new memoir was out last week and I was jazzed to listen. I put in my headphones, loaded the baby into the stroller, and began to un-clench the tension and stress of the day. That is, until my phone died.
There was no crash, no struggle, no final death screen. My phone turned off and never turned back on. It was an older model phone and likely needed to be replaced in the near future, but its demise was like a feather falling on a huge pile of stuff I was trying to hold up, and it all came crashing to the floor. The sadness rolled over me in slow, building waves. I got back to the house and told my husband what happened, and he spent a little while trying to fix it, reminding me we'd budgeted for this and could order a new phone if necessary. My head spun with what I could do to bring the phone back to life and with the anxiety that ordering a phone would take days or weeks. We decided to see what it looked like in the morning. Then, I curled in a fetal position on my bed and cried.
I cried because I use my phone to guide me through a nightly yoga and meditation practice, which is one of the only things that brings me into the present and keeps out the worry of the current world. I cried because I've taken to talking to my parents daily through video chat, and without that I would crumble. They're such a calm and steady presence to me, and I need that reassurance. I cried because I use my phone to listen to podcasts and books while doing things around the house, and without that I feel unmoored. I cried because phones are expensive, and the economic landscape of this country is uncertain at best and terrifying at worst. While I am thankfully still employed, my profession does not thrive in a recession. I cried and cried and cried until my eyes were more red than I have ever seen them. I knew as I was melting down that this wasn't just about the phone. I have been mourning the comfortable life I'd become accustomed to, for our country, and for the world for days, and my phone breaking gave me the release I needed to let it all go.
Now that I'm a few days past it and have figured out how to listen to podcasts, do yoga and meditate, and talk to my parents all without a phone, I'm feeling better about things. Instead of scrolling through NPR until well past midnight, I fell asleep reading my kindle last night, something I always did before the pandemic but haven't been able to do in a month. This is a welcome detox, and I'm thankful I have nowhere to go so I don't have the added stress of being away from my husband and kids without any way of contacting them. There are always positives in a negative situation, so now I'll just try to focus on the good that is coming out of this stressful situation. My family is healthy, my husband and I are still employed, and I'm getting to know my daughters on a whole new level. We'll all get through this, and I should have a new phone by the end of the week.