Lost Phone

The 7 stages of leaving your phone at home:

A dramatic short story of loss, recovery, and the eventual plunge into insanity.


Below is the cautionary tale of what would theoretically happen if an anonymous HZ employee left her lifeline (i.e. “phone”) at home. Let this be a lesson to you all.


Stage 1: Denial

It hits you just as you arrive at work: Something’s missing.

You convince yourself the phone is somewhere in your bag, hiding under a few granola bar wrappers and crumpled receipts. You probably tossed it in without thinking. It’s there. You just have to dig a little more...


Stage 2: Panic

What if people need your opinion about happy hour plans? What if someone sends you a very important Snapchat and by the time you can reply the moment has passed? What if you need an Uber?



Stage 3: Acceptance

At this point you’ve explored every pocket and zippered pouch in your bag, run your fingers along the bottom of your tote cringing at the crumbs of Pop-Tarts past, thinking: If I just cleaned this [censored] bag maybe this wouldn’t have happened. 

But it’s time to face the facts. You left your most prized possession at home; alone, unprotected, abandoned. Does it miss me too?


Stage 4: Damage Control

Once you've convinced yourself that the world will not, in fact, end, and that your phone will be waiting for you when you return, you go into damage control mode. Which, let’s be honest, first requires an email to Mom, telling her not to worry when you don't answer her texts about the latest Kardashian scandal.

Next, a message to the roommates: You have not died. You are alive and well. Just a bit shaken up.

Then a quick, offhand tweet to the world: haha left my phone at home again going to go chug another coffee and pretend im fine brb. 



Stage 5: Melancholy

The hours crawl by. You comfort yourself with an occasional peek at Facebook, but it’s like satisfying a fast food craving with a turkey burger—just not as good as the real thing.

Nothing major is happening in the social world—no event invites, no messages from John Krasinski (despite your casual but persistent tweets to him).

Still, the absence of your phone is felt. There’s a sense of disconnectedness, of not belonging.

Every now and then you instinctively reach for your phone. You quickly pull back your hand—your empty hand—and stare at it for a minute, turning it over as if you forgot what you were doing, then solemnly return to work.

Nothing matters. Nothing has ever mattered.


Stage 6: Shame

For a brief moment, you imagine yourself faking a sudden illness, escaping the confines of your office and sprinting home to cradle your phone in your hands; I’m here, its ok.

This fantasy is immediately followed by a wave of shame and a reluctant acknowledgement of your own addiction to your phone and to technology in general. 


Stage 7: Euphoria/Insanity

How did you survive before your smart phone? By talking to people in real life, that's how. How did people get through the day without taking occasional Instagram breaks? By working until 5pm, when they left to talk to their friends and family face to face. 


It’s time we realize what our phones are doing to us! I have been to the other side and back and I can tell you—you don’t need these devices. That’s just what Steve Jobs wanted you to believe. Free yourselves of the restraining chains of technology! Take your life back. Leave your phones behind. You can survive. We will survive. Hey hey.