To Bring or Not Bring Your Phone

by | Feb 19, 2022 | Jonathan Cardew - February Day 1

To Bring or Not Bring My Phone

Off to the woods, I go to die (again).
Do I bring my phone this time?
Service is reliable, a strong connection
will exist until I: A) drain battery,
B) turn phone off, C) lose phone,
D) bury phone. I consider creating
a list: pro’s/con’s, black ink, yellow
legal paper—habit formed years ago.

When first diagnosed—the intimations
of severe pain, reduced life quality,
organ atrophy, followed by complete
system collapse, seemed distant
as Mongolia. I walked frequently,
often off mapped forest trails.
I camped on mossy ground. I held
my phone lightly, a minor toy,
a diversion. I snapped the requisite
selfie, smiled the perfunctory smile.

When you bring your phone, you imagine
you have brought the world. You
feel you are not alone. Or so
you tell yourself. It thrums
almost like a sentient being
in your backpack. It’s filled
with page after page of medical
research. At any moment,
you can assess your current
state. You can provide
evidence you live. You can
see how long before
you die.

Without your phone, you might
find yourself in a too tenuous
position. You might not hold
all the knowledge you know.
You would be stuck with your
own skills and tricks. Your
own reading of the sun.
You might hear your breath,
It’s steady rise and fall.
A sound you have forgotten
how to listen for.

You will decide, eventually,
to leave the phone at home.
You will decide when you’ve
had enough of everything
the portal has to give.
Then you will walk as you
haven’t walked before. Death
will be closer than Mongolia.
Death will be a destination
a year or two ahead. You will
have stopped walking to escape it.
You won’t exactly be rushing to
embrace it, but you will know
it’s up there, not too far
beyond the bend.

You will do this, or
you won’t. You are still
unsure. Sometimes a trail
takes an unexpected turn,
and suddenly you are stranded
in the midst of leaves everywhere.
A phone might take a nice pic.
Or help you identify tree type.
Or let you try to call home.

Because, let’s face it, when one
goes to the root of the matter,
when it’s at the end of the day,
the phone does not really
matter, how long you lived
Isn’t that relevant, the weather
will have been the weather.
Only one thing is going
to count: that you have
a home to go to, that
somewhere there is a bed,
pillow, sheets. You will
tuck yourself in, or if you’re
really lucky, someone
will do that for you.
You will forget what a phone
was for. You will remember
your mother, you will
remember your long dead sister.
You will close your eyes,
and you will sleep, you will sleep.

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