Since Georgia became a hands-free state in 2018, I have been a criminal on the loose. If my phone is in the car, it is like a magnet made of kryptonite that draws my attention from the pavement without my permission. First I tried putting it face down on the floorboard of the passenger seat. Then I tried putting it on the floorboard in the back seat. Then I tried putting it in the trunk of the car, but getting out to retrieve it at red lights became too embarrassing to sustain.
Yesterday I left it at home, though I knew I would be gone most of the afternoon. What if my husband thought of something he needed at the hardware store and could not reach me? What if my best friend sent me a picture of her cat doing something funny? What if I needed to look up a zip code for some reason? What if there was a tornado in the area and I did not receive the warning? It’s amazing how many reasons an addict can think of not to stop.
The afternoon was as lovely as any I can remember. Every time I reached for the phone that was not there, I noticed something else: the pattern the wind was making in the treetops, the spotted dog with its head out the window in the car ahead of me, the first clutch of daffodils on the side of the road. Above all, I noticed the unclenched thoughts I was having because I was not thinking about the phone. Its absence freed me like its presence never did. Now all I have to figure out is how free I want to be.