Too Much Telephone

by | Feb 11, 2015 | Uncategorized

3D Tin Can Phones | Flickr User Chris Potter | Flickr Creative Commons
3D Tin Can Phones | Flickr User Chris Potter | Flickr Creative Commons

3D Tin Can Phones | Flickr User Chris Potter | Flickr Creative Commons

224, 144, then 164 minutes. That’s 3.7, 2.4 then 2.73 hours. Three consecutive days, one surprised man and one unphased iPhone.

"Before" | Screenshot by Author

“Before” | Screenshot by Author

I can explain! Really! I know  — the final holdout on the smartphone, the proud low-tech with acoustic instruments and daylong bread recipes, who once used so little electricity in his college room that the electricians thought the meter was broken…1  But now, this iPhone is where my music now lives, where my family and I Snapchat, where photos store and I don’t respond to emails, where I keep my shifting list of morning prayer intentions, identify Northern birds, where I verb and noun my way into better French on Duolingo, where I, for convenience’s sake, sometimes read my current kindle novel while in transit, and where I’m actually composing this piece. Oh, yeah- and where I text and make the occasional phone call.

But still; 2, 3, or 4 hours a day? When I’m awake for only 16? I’m “Looking at the man in the mirror” in this 4.7inch Retina HD screen…

25 days and 2,267 minutes of use later,2  I have disbelieved, rationalized, and wrestled my way into reluctant gratitude and a sullen ‘tip of the hat’ to developer Kevin Holesh, whose Moment app now slaps a number on my vaguely excessive phone use. And son of an engineer that I am, numbers require action, even if that action is first denial.

"After" |Screenshot by Author

“After” |Screenshot by Author

Denial phase now passed, I’m proud of a daily goal I set in response; I’m now spending on average 90.75 less minutes a day on this device, 90.75 more minutes elsewhere.3 Where? On my computer instead. Only half joking… But I’ve also picked up the banjo again, gracing my neighbors with poorly-performed covers of Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin.'” And letter-writing, too: Lizzie, Colleen, Antonino and Flying J- your letters will be in the mail soon, I promise. 😉

What will you do with your extra 90? Take my or The New York Times or NPR’s word for it: check out Kevin’s Moment app, or other similar apps for Android users.

My times, they are a changin’. And hopefully more than just my statistics.




  1.   True story: As a resident assistant living in room 312 of Abbottsford Hall at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, fall of 2006. I had a lamp and a clock-radio.
  2. Because I am miserable at flipping between apps productively, all mathematics were actually done longhand on a Spirit Airlines air sickness bag- (which, surprisingly, they did not charge me for).
  3. Compared with pre-goal ‘age of darkness’ (and too much Clash of Clans?)

Garrett Gundlach, SJ   /   All posts by Garrett