In January, my iPhone was confirmed dead by the Apple Store in Saint Laurent du Var. It had gone dark the day prior, unresponsive when I woke up to a New Year in France at my girlfriend’s cousin’s house. I could’ve accepted this as some Sign Apparent, taken a healthy break from connectedness and doubled down on using the rest of my vacation as I’d halfway intended - to decompress from a year of navigating my late twenties as a sober SWM on the periphery of some insular comedy/art scene in Brooklyn. Instead, I used my credit card to get a new iPhone that I’d return for a full refund before flying back to the States, where I had faith Verizon could bring me back to life at little cost. New year, same plan.
If this was one of those self-defining, fork-in-the-road moments, I had taken the beaten path. And if there’s shame in that, I’m too far gone to feel it. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that my brain now processes sunsets better in the background of selfies than it does when they’re playing out in front of me. And let’s not forget that sunsets translate to production value. I’m a filmmaker of sorts, with a body of selfie-stick work that I’m always looking to supplement. As I ran my card in that Apple Store, it occurred to me that I may never have another opportunity to feel the cognitive benefits of a holiday off the grid, away from Timeline Culture. Was I making the right choice? Yes, I assured myself. Getting the iPhone was in line with my raison d’être - the one I assigned myself several years back: to make provocative content until something sticks. And if nothing sticks? Well, I tell myself not to think about that.