A Blessing in Your Absence

Two nights ago I decided against staying home. Recently, my social life has been somewhat non-existent and for good reason. Ever since getting myself into some legal trouble a few months ago, I’ve been trying to lay low, more so because I legally have to than out of me wanting to. I broke the rules that were imposed on me due to sheer boredom. I mean you cannot expect a 29 year old, single, female to be OK with just sitting at home every single night for the next 10 months.  What you can expect is for her to go stir crazy.

I get home from running errands and after much debating on whether or not to stay home, I decided that I could at least go out and have me a beer along with some dinner. Living out on the beach I am blessed to have everything at arms reach. I don’t have to drive ANYWHERE so I walk out my apartment, earphones in, and head to one of my favorite places, The Salty Crab. They’ve got a wonderful happy hour from 11-7 everyday, live music, and pretty good food compared to many of the other places you find in this tourist trap of a town. Four songs and a mile later I make it to my destination. I order my beer right away, Summer Shandy which they have on draft, one of my favorites, and within a few mins of getting my beer I place an order for boneless chicken wings dressed in a sesame ginger sauce.

The band that is playing is on break so I pop my headphones in. A few songs later I’m finished my beer, still no wings in sight. I order myself a second beer and within mins one of my favorite servers that works there, J, shows up at the bar. He’s off and wondered in to have a drink. He sits right down next to me and BAM just like that I have a drinking buddy, uh ohh. Well… might as well make the most of this right? Before you know it, we’re each finished with our round of beers and order a next round. This time J decides to add a shot into the mix, “Wanna do a shot with me Nattie?” Although I am not a big shot taker, I decide to go along with the flow. This is the first time J and I have a drink together so why not!? Beers ordered, shots poured, and still no wings in sight, this night is turning out to be something I was totally not expecting, but those kind of nights are usually the most fun. So I don’t fight it.

It was about 20 mins after J got there that another bartender from a few bars down also shows up for a drink. It’s a small town, we all know each other, so instead of drinking alone, he too joins us. Our group is getting bigger. At this point I had forgotten that I had even ordered food. It should not have taken as long as it did. To fry up some chicken and toss it sauce, it shouldn’t take more than a few mins but it took way longer than that. By the time my food came out, I was feeling my buzz and didn’t want to kill it, so I asked for it to be made to-go. Let’s keep this party going shall we?

Having my food made to-go was my second big mistake of the night, the first being me accepting that shot. On this particular day, I hadn’t eaten much. I am one of those drinkers that if I decide to drink on an empty stomach, I will be paying for it the next day. With the amount to drink I had had up to this point, I should have torn those chicken strips up. But I didn’t. Instead, I felt guilty for eating in front of people who hadn’t ordered anything and not wanting to be rude, decided I’d eat my food later that night after I got home.

As the night went on, so did the drinking. We took our mini party elsewhere. We headed to a bar that was a bit cheaper and that stayed open a little later. Another round of beers and shots materialized but by this point the shots didn’t even phase me. Or so I thought.

That night for me are now moments lived through snapshots. I remember breaking the seal and having to go to the bathroom often. I vaguely remember cashing out. I don’t remember my walk home, or even getting home. Next thing  knew, I woke up in my room, still fully clothed from the night before. Every light in my apartment was on, making it seem like it was mid-day vs. 8am, the time it truly was. I was disoriented, I’ll even go as far as saying that I was still drunk. I reached for my phone, which I normally keep on my nightstand, but it wasn’t there. Annoyed at the fact that I would have to actually get up and go looking for my phone, I laid my head back down, and within a fews mins I was fast asleep. When I woke up again, I was ready to go looking for my phone. I rummaged through my purse and nothing. I went into the kitchen and nothing. I looked in the bathroom, again, nothing. Another thing I had noticed was that my to-go chicken strips were nowhere to be found. And then that’s when it hit me…… I had left my phone sitting right on top of my to-go box at the bar. I must have left it there when I cashed my bill out the night before. I must have totally forgotten to grab it before leaving. I immediately washed my face, brushed my teeth, and headed back to the bar, in search of my phone.

“Sorry ma’m. I don’t see it here. If you want you can come back later and talk to the girl that was working last night but I can assure you if she had found it, it would be back here.” said the guy that was bar tending now. I know he believed that. He seemed sincere. But I knew better. In today’s world, if someone finds a smart phone, you’re lucky if you get it back. Especially at the bar I was at. The clientele here weren’t the most trusting of folks. I left the bar defeated. I knew my phone was a goner. Funny thing is, I wasn’t as bummed about it as I thought I would be. The only thing that upset me was that I had recently taken pictures from my sister’s visit with that phone. In all honesty, all of the pictures on my phone I cherished. That was definitely the hardest part of coming to grips with having to get another one.

Long story short, I went to Verizon and filed a claim. I paid my deductible and walked out knowing that another phone was on the way and that I would be receiving it the next day (now today). It has now been a full 24hrs since I last had my phone and let me just say that I thought this was going to be much harder than what it actually has been.

I feel refreshed. I feel liberated. I feel like I was stuck in this weird relationship with my phone and now there are no chains attached. Now, I’m not one to constantly be on my phone. I hear it from my friends all the time of how it always takes me so long to reply to a text or how I never answer a phone call. I always took a little pride in that just for the simple fact that for me that meant that I was living more in the moment than living through my phone like so many others. With that said, I have come to realize how dependent I have become on that little piece of technology. Thank the Universe that this happened on a day off of work because otherwise I would have had to run out and get me an alarm clock to get up for work in the morning. But even for non-important things, I found myself reaching for my phone every 15mins. Whether it was to text my sister, or to take a video of my dog doing something funny, or to record something for Snapchat, I literally would physically go to grab for my phone without even thinking. First thing I did this morning, I reached for my phone before even fully getting my head off the pillow to check to see the time. With each time that I came to the realization of what I was doing, a second of disgust would wash over me for the fact that I couldn’t believe how conditioned even I had been. I couldn’t imagine this happening to someone who was a full cell phone addict. How could they survive? I mean there are times that I would reach for my phone and once I realized I didn’t have it, I would almost feel a moment of relief. I literally had no obligations to my phone and that was a great feeling. Funny how something so tiny like a cell phone can thoughtlessly impose on your life.

I sit here knowing that in a few hours I will have a phone again. I do look forward to having limitless contact with the ones I love but I don’t care to have to set it up like I once did. I don’t look forward to having to upload apps and customize my settings. Right now that seems like a lot of energy being placed into something that shouldn’t have that much importance but either way it will get done. Things for me have changed though. If people thought I was detached from my phone before, I can’t imagine what they’ll think now. I love this freedom. Losing my phone was not losing my life but instead it gave it back. I had almost forgotten what life was like before cell phones and with this incident, it has brought those fond memories back. The times of not having to see how many likes you got on a particular post, or checking to see if someone read your message and if so did they respond? The times of actually having to play a radio to listen to music or look at an actual clock to see the time. The moments of life that you have to fully live and absorb because now there is no way of capturing it unless you have a real camera handy. The conversations one must have with the company you’re with due to having no distractions….

I have always related to what’s classic. I have always admired “back in the day” when things were a bit more personal. For instance, I still read real books. I have always wanted a type writer (no real writer should be without one) and I still go out and buy Cd’s. I write letters to friends and tend to always want to play some sort of board game when company is over as opposed to just turning on a Tv. Cell phones have taken so much away from humanity and people don’t even realize. Just take a look at our socializing skills alone and we see how much cell phones have robbed us from even being able to interact with those around us.

Initially I was going to blame myself and the alcohol for aiding in the loss of my phone and all of its contents. But instead of assigning blame, I’ll simply show a bit of gratitude. For it is always a good thing when life hands you an eye opening moment, when you’re given a chance to really appreciate, the way life truly is.