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Sara Al Mheiri: Missing my ‘baby’
November 07, 2014
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I perhaps had to endure one of the worst days of my life; however don’t worry, I won’t bore you with my “first world problems.” I’ll just cut to the chase instead. I had a terrible day at work; the bad ‘juju’ decided to follow me back home where it rudely involved itself into my personal life. So by 2am, I was done. My body, mind and spirit were exhausted and all I wanted was to lie in my heavenly soft bed. I dragged my weary body to the bathroom where I started brushing my teeth. I was so tired that I had to prop myself up... Which is when my elbow made contact with the sink table, it knocked my phone right into the toilet bowl: plop.

Instead of screaming and grabbing it as quickly as I could like many of my peers would exclaim they would do, I just sat on the ground with a heavy sigh, toothbrush still in my mouth and watched it slowly drown. The bubbles escaping from its electronic soul, erasing all my contacts, pictures, videos, notes. But did I care? No.

Well, not at first. In the beginning, I felt serene. I no longer had this block of cancer practically attached to my body 24/7. I didn’t feel the need to check Facebook every three minutes, nor Instagram and not even Snapchat. I had always known that when boiled down to it, these things were useless. My time was being spent stalking the horrid girl who lived down the hall that everyone ‘just absolutely loved’ (never understood why) when I could be reading the new Stephen King novel or working on my photography skills. I felt free but still a little scared.

From the minute I opened my eyes the next morning, I realised how much I had relied on my phone. It was my alarm clock and without it, I had to find an old digital clock with an actual snooze button. It was a little strange but not too bad. Without a watch however, I didn’t realise that I had spent an extra 20 minutes on my outfit, leading me to run out of my apartment with half a sandwich in my mouth. On the subway without my music, I hummed instead but it is a known factor that our generation doesn’t have much patience for things and so I quickly tired of it and just spent the rest of the ride staring at strangers’ shoes. It was an awkward and long silence; one that I would never come to terms with.

By the time, I arrived at work, I felt some relief. I would be safe for the next few hours by burying myself in work. I never needed to check my phone there. But once again, I was wrong. I was in a sea of people who didn’t even realise how obsessed they were with their phones. It was an eye-opening yet sickening realisation as I saw each one of them unconsciously pull it out every fifteen minutes. Yet as horrific as it was, my fingers were twitching, anxious to when I could get my phone back and join them in the unaware zombie submission to technology. Even though I am in Manhattan, New York City, I might as well have been in the middle of the forest. I was so detached and lost; nobody could reach me nor could I contact them. Just when I calmed myself down, my boss asked me to go and pick up some important files he needed; a simple task that wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. However, instead of embarking on the journey immediately, using the map on my phone, I had to go on Google maps and memorise the directions. Five minutes into the journey I cursed myself for not printing it out for I was lost. I had no phone to call my boss and ask for directions. I had no phone to check where I was going. I had no phone to check the subway directions. I was just walking aimlessly around New York City.

I had never realised how the world suddenly modernised itself to fit in with the instant phone craze. There used to be maps everywhere. Now they are just sold in tourist gift shops as a vintage memento. Being on the outside made me realise, these aren’t just phones. To many, this is the equivalent of having a child. The way they nurture and utilise them.

That very same day, I rushed to the Apple store and re-signed the adoption papers.

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Sara Al Mheiri is a young Emirati woman who is currently living
in Boston, USA, where she is specialising in media studies with a
focus on women's studies. Sara is the ultimate nomad who flits
between countries observing new societies and their culture.

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