I Spent 24 Hours Without My Phone and Laptop During the Lockdown

April 25, 2020
Posted in Blog

I Spent 24 Hours Without My Phone and Laptop During the Lockdown

I want to preface this with a disclaimer…. I am guilty of not having  any social media account besides WhatsApp, so I might not have been the best guinea pig for this experiment. Nonetheless, I am an avid streamer and can go through two whole seasons of a show per day, so I’m still pretty invested in my laptop.

Find out what I did during my 24 hours without technology:

Friday 10:47PM: I turned my phone off. I contemplated telling my friends about what I was planning, but I wanted to see if anyone would notice (disclaimer: they did not…).
Friday 10:49PM: Exceptional boredom overcame me, so I decided to pick out my two book options for the next day from my bookshelf. The top row of my bookshelf has all the books I’ve promised myself I will read before I even dare to buy another book, so I picked The Brief & Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and The Sole Spokesperson by Ayesha Jalal. One new pick and one reread to see if I had gained any additional perspectives after a four-year gap from my first reading.
This is where I lose all concept of time because my sole source of telling time was my phone or laptop. So I’ll switch to more creative versions of time telling.

32 pages into Oscar Wao later: I fell asleep.

Sometime in the next morning (Saturday): I woke up. I grabbed at my sides to check my phone and picked up the book I had fallen asleep reading instead. It reminded me of my poor decision-making skills. I wondered whether or not to turn my phone on and just pretend to do the experiment. Weirdly felt like Robert Frost choosing between two roads in the woods. I took the one less travelled by. I did not turn my phone on, and this display of determination within myself made the rest of the day’s resolve significantly easier.
A slide of peanut butter toast later: I checked the time on the kitchen clock and was shocked to see it reading 4PM. I wondered if my day as Alice in Wonderland had finally come. I asked my mother if the clock was right. She said the battery died the week we moved into the house 5 years ago. I asked her why she still had the clock. She said it’s for decoration. Can’t argue with that. So I moved on.
One clock hunt later: It is 9:15AM. I am suddenly realizing that carrying a notebook and a pen is an efficient way of recording the day but is making it look like I’m living out some childhood Nancy Drew fantasy. Oh well.
9:15AM: I washed a particularly giant pile of clothes and took a shower. Anyone who’s having to wring out giant towels during this quarantine has my full sympathy. And my appreciation for your new biceps. Note to self: giant fluffy towels are only comforting when dry. I will never be purchasing another giant white towel as a contribution to humanity.
11:15AM: I sat down to continue reading Oscar Wao. The book has wormed its way into my heart and mind already. A book with a strong mother who takes no prisoners always does this to me. I can tell I won’t be able to let this book go easily. I can also tell that stopping to write down every thought I have is better in theory than in practice. There is a lot of I noticed the blue sky-esque nonsense in my mind. No one needs to read this.
3:30PM: I can tell the time because I put a clock right next to me. Not having a phone to always grab unconsciously is already making me feel like I live on Mars, I don’t need to mess with my concept of time. Anyway, Oscar Wao sucked me in and I couldn’t wrench myself away. But I need to vacuum the drawing room so I go and do that.
4:30PM: I am hanging out with my mother. She is currently looking at me like I’m stupid because I am writing in a small notebook while sitting next to her. I last did this at the age of 13 when I was convinced I was the next Enyd Blyton and I could not let any story idea go by without making note. I shall take my leave before she snatches my notebook and sends blurry pictures of my embarrassing thoughts to her entire WhatsApp contact list.
5:15PM: I decided to work out. I am currently writing this on a bike machine. Cardio is torturous without entertainment or music. Do not recommend it to anyone unless you enjoy wandering down memory lane and cringing at the pyala cut you had in second grade or the time you drew a round pair of buttocks to a class assignment that asked you to make a body part.
6PM: I finished Oscar Wao, cried a lot  little about it and wondered how to follow up this exceptionally poignant story with expositions about Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan. Determined in this mission, I started The Sole Spokesman. But after the third time my mind wandered to Oscar Wao’s home in the Dominican Republic, I decided on getting myself a less theoretical read. I picked The Worst Person Ever by Douglas Coupland. I recommend that everyone get a copy of this genius book and keep it on hand for when you’ve got a case of the blues. Nothing like the worst person ever to make you feel better.
6:30PM: After chuckling about how 3 days of being shoved around airports is a whole book if you’re a white American and a very regular immigration process if you’re a brown Pakistani, I went to shower.
6:30-7:30PM: I decided to draw. I am attaching a picture below. I know you didn’t really ask for it but my article, my rules.
7:30: I made gol gappays with my mom. Not to brag, but to brag: I figured out how to swash the dough with hot oil in just the right way so they rise up and become crispy. Watch out, I’m putting Lahore Chatkhara out of business once I get my hands on a phone.
8:30: My little sister is getting a Nintendo Switch (She is looking over my shoulder as I write this and yelling that I include that it’s a Nintendo Switch LITE. I don’t know how to break it to her that no one cares, so I’ll just mention it). We’re making an art project: a calendar where she can mark off the days until she gets the Nintendo Switch LITE (it only gets more annoying from here on, trust me). I take out my giant acrylic paint tubes and we paint with our hands, like we’re right out of a Jacqueline Wilson novel. Where’s my bread and jam at? I wonder why I don’t do this sort of free-spirited thing more often. 5 minutes later, my wooden floor has bright green lines all over it and I am scrubbing it with my T-shirt. I remember why I don’t do this more often.
9:30PM: I wash some dishes and silently scoff at the family member who thought it was acceptable to leave peanut butter on a plate to dry and stick all day. I then remember I was the one to do that. So… moving on.
10:15PM: I brush my teeth. Because I have all the time in the world to do so, I brush each tooth 20 times like I tell my dentist I’ve been doing for the last 2 years. I observe my teeth closely. There is no difference. Probably a toothpaste-selling scam.
10:47PM: I turn my phone on again, expecting to be bombarded with 20 messages asking me where I was. I have one WhatsApp message. My dad has forwarded me an informational video on the economic impacts of the coronavirus by a Pakistani journalist who has a YouTube channel because he got kicked off of Geo. What a way to end the day.

Epiphanies throughout the day:

1. The world does not stop turning just because your phone is off (and no one really notices).
2. It is not that hard if you brave through the first two hours of the day.
3. The day is 8 hours longer if you do not have your phone or laptop (and that’s just a scientific fact so…)
4. Snacks are not as fun when you’re not watching something.
5. It makes sense that people had all the time in the world for letters and teas back in the day – now we’re just a planet of sloths.
6. What on earth did I do in bed before I fell asleep before YouTube and Netflix blessed my life?
7. I do not have any clocks in my near vicinity. All of my wristwatches ran out of battery a thousand years ago. I had to go upstairs every time I wanted to know what time of day it was.
8. It’s okay to not read and fret about the news and daily statistics every single second.
9. I’ve learned to do a significant amount of stuff one-handed because my phone was always occupying my other hand.
Would I do it again? Yes.
When? Don’t ask unnecessary questions.