The day that Roe was knocked down, I was flying back to New York from a 48-hour-long trip to California (awful for the environment, I know) without a cellphone, which I had lost before leaving for the airport. Through the miracles of public Wi-Fi and good old-fashioned stuff like planning in advance, I managed to navigate my way from two hours outside of Los Angeles across the country to a rental house I’m staying in about two hours north of New York City. I didn’t learn about the ruling until I logged on to the airplane’s Wi-Fi with my laptop and saw the news in a group chat. As I watched everyone around me doomscroll on their phones, I leaned into not having mine and decided to avoid social media altogether. Instead, I cried a little bit, sat in my thoughts and feelings for an hour or so, then opened up a new Word doc and wrote last week’s edition of this newsletter.
When the driver who picked me up at JFK asked if I was “losing my mind” without my phone, I explained that, actually, aside from losing my equal rights, I was feeling pretty chill. More chill than I could remember feeling since, well, the last time I lost my phone. When the replacement arrived the next day, a Saturday, I waited a full 24 hours before I took it out of the box. I was phoneless, but not completely without technology, and in that time I wrote a new section of my novel, penned a meaningful email to an old friend I hadn’t spoken with in a while, read the newspaper (online), FaceTimed another friend from my laptop, and dined out with yet more friends and acquaintances. In short, I continued to exist—and in fact, I was thriving. The Earth did not swallow me whole because I was phoneless; in fact, considering the state of the world, I felt relatively at peace.