Viewpoint: Losing my lifeline

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    I give you a story of sheer terror. I never thought it would happen to me. And when it did, it was so much worse than I could imagine it ever would be.

    In my traveling frenzy this holiday, while I busied myself with making sure that US Airways didn?t lose my luggage for the third time in 12 days, I forgot my cell phone in my hometown of Pittsburgh.

    That?s right. I was without my little Verizon lifeline for four straight, solid days.

    I didn?t even make it halfway to Salt Lake before I felt like I needed a respirator.

    Being without my cell phone felt like being without a vital organ. You may as well have removed my lungs. Within hours, I felt like I needed to be hospitalized. And if not hospitalized, seriously sedated until the waves of communication were flowing again.

    I was on Walden Pond, for Pete’s sake. Devastating.

    I embarrassingly replayed a conversation I had with my uncle that weekend, a rookie to the cell phone world. You know, one of those people who only turn their phones on when they need to make a call. One of those people who ignore the two-way avenue that cell phones were meant to be.

    ?Make it an extension of your body,? I told him, smugly. ?Never be without it. Never turn it off.?

    I was being punished for my idol worship of the pocket pal that kept me constantly connected.

    The powers that be were out to teach me a lesson.

    My mom thought I?d learn something about how I didn?t really need it as much as I thought I did.

    She was sure I?d come out of this experience with the same air as someone coming out of rehab: with a new, fresh outlook on life and completely free of my digital drug of choice. Just the polar opposite actually. I didn?t know how completely dependent I was on my phone until it wasn?t buzzing in my pocket anymore.

    I tell you I even heard my ring tone in my dreams. I was in a state of complete desperation.

    When I got it back, it was like being resurrected. I had come back from the dead. I was a living, breathing, communicating person again. I think I even slept with it under my pillow the first night I had it back.

    And of course my ego was fed with 19 voicemail messages and 27 texts.

    And so I say to those of you still without cell phones: you are a species I do not understand. We should study you in science class. Like creatures living without blood pumping through their veins. How do you do it?

    You boggle me.

    [Victoria Bradley is a senior from Pittsburgh majoring in print journalism.]

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