Airplane Mode

Arriving on a Jet Plane


I love putting my phone on Airplane Mode.

Counter to what the name suggests, the practice prevents me from traveling to distant places. It’s the anchor I need to help me “be where my feet are.”

Otherwise, my phone can become a teleportation device. The black mirror serves as a portal to another space & time.

Let’s say I’m on a run in NYC with my friend, Ben. Then, I get a text from my friend, Geno, who’s in LA. If I engage with that text - answering it, or simply reading it - then I’m suddenly transported to LA with Geno. It’s as if the two of us are sitting on the balcony of our old house, staring at the beach, having this one-line-at-a-time conversation.

It’s a beautiful sight & a wonderful chat, but the tradeoff is that I’ve left Ben alone in the city. For as long as I’m replying to Geno, I’m no longer here. I'm tempted to say it's NBD because the teleportation operates instantaneously. However, I’ve realized that there’s a lag time to readjust after the location switch. I eventually parachute back into my conversation with Ben in NYC, recovering attention with the classic question: “Sorry… what were we talking about?“

So, I'm grateful that Airplane Mode has become a co-pilot to my presence and prevented me from having bicoastal awareness. My teleportation device turns into an old-school tool: a digital notepad and a camera (in greyscale). It’s the precise tool I want it to be when I just want to be with the people around me.

I like to use this tactic for family gatherings & friend dinners. However, it's most often deployed at night, when I'm ready to retreat from the outside world. The moment I turn it “On”, I drop the anchor in my apartment... and arrive. Then, in the morning, I switch it “Off” at the precise moment I’m ready to pull up the anchor, hoist the sail, and bon voyage to the adventure that awaits.

This nightly habit puts me in the driver’s seat of my day. I get to choose when to pull the lever of the levy that lets the noise of the world flood in.

Now that we’ve traveled through this piece with planes, trains ships, and automobiles, it’s time for me to depart. Since it’s nighttime as I write this, I'll end by saying, "Have a peaceful night. And, tomorrow, may you give yourself the gift of choosing when the notifications start.”

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