There are now at least three places to find delicious donuts for breakfast, lunch or whenever you feel like it during the day on Chincoteague. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches as they say. Or an overload of temptation. But, hey, it’s vacation, right? We’ve always loved getting baked goods from the longstanding Sugarbakers Bakery and Cafe, and that hasn’t changed. Earlier this year we discovered that a favorite ice cream spot called Mr. Whippy had a love child (or that’s how we see it) called Lil’ Whippy which serves donuts, gelato, and coffee during the day.
Do you see that little baby in the upper left corner of the sign? Who wouldn’t love him or the donuts in the picture at the top? The other addition to the donut cornucopia is a donut truck called Sandy Pony Donuts where they make them to order. Oh my, fresh, hot donuts made to order – yum. We took them to the beach as our lunch one day. And sorry, they didn’t last long enough to get a photo for you.
I’m sure that at this point I’ve confused you with the title of this post. I promised to tell you about a vacation diet but clearly if I’ve detailed three donut shops for you, my diet wasn’t the low-cal variety.
No, my diet was much more difficult than that, and it wasn’t something I had planned. Rather, the second morning of my vacation it was forced upon me. You see, that morning I woke up, went to turn on my iPhone which had been charging overnight, and discovered it was deader than the seashells along the shoreline.
There is no good explanation* for this unexpected death. My iPhone was less than a year old, had NOT been dropped in the toilet or the floor, and there were no power surges overnight. It simply died, leaving me to survive without a smart phone the entire vacation!
Boy, did I learn a lot about myself on this smart phone diet. I believe this was only my third smart phone ever, making it less than 10 years we’ve been joined at the hip – literally. Or was it my second smart phone? Seriously, I can’t remember, haven’t been paying attention, thinking this wasn’t an important part of my life. Was I ever wrong. In just a few years it has become a habit, as terrible as any negative habit can be, and I was completely unaware of it. I can’t count the number of times I touched my back pocket looking for it the first day, only to be met with an empty pocket and an awareness of an unconscious tic. Boom!
I began to examine what exactly was the motivation behind my hunt for the phone. What was so important that I felt that I needed to check it so often? I wasn’t expecting any important emails. I wasn’t about to win the Lottery, especially since I never play it. I didn’t need to check for emergency texts from the girls or Joe since they were right there with me. And pretty much most of the mail I do receive is junk – I would guess 90% of it. Another 5% is communication with another person. And the final 5% was content I wanted to read to keep up with Zentangle, food, philosophy, or other content I requested be sent to me.
Next, there is social media. Blah, blah. I didn’t think I was so involved with social media that leaving it behind would be a problem. Was I ever wrong. First, there’s Instagram. All of those lovely photos you saw in yesterday’s post should have been posted last week on Instagram. Because you just couldn’t wait to see them, right? Of course not. I’m sure you didn’t lose any sleep over the delay.
How about Facebook? But, let’s be honest. There are mostly two types of posts right now on Facebook – photos of people on vacation and back to school photos. Now really, if I’m on vacation myself, why should I worry about the vacations of my friends? And back-to-school can definitely wait until it shows up on my doorstep. Boo.
Then, there were those little manage-my-life apps on my phone, specifically Fitbit and Plant Nanny, that I possibly felt the need to check. Fitbit tracks my daily step count, but I had decided at home to leave my bracelet behind because it wouldn’t make a difference in my vacation walking, which I knew would be plenty. In fact, I decided to drop it when I returned home because my weekly average of daily steps hasn’t changed in months, regardless of my Fitbit. I’ll pull it out again if and when the day comes I decide that I’m making a conscious effort to increase my steps, or for a periodic check in if I feel my life is turning too sedentary. Otherwise, there’s no point to it. Plant Nanny is an app designed to raise your awareness of daily water intake. However, as cute as the little plants are, and as rewarding as it was to raise my virtual plant to adulthood to plant in my virtual garden, it was a burden as well. It was always pinging me to drink some water and water my plants and the level of water intake kept me up at night since it was more than my body could process during the day, if you know what I mean. The app has been deleted.
I wasn’t especially worried about missing any important phone calls from home since everyone else had a phone and could be reached. As for text messages, no, I wasn’t immediately available but when we went back to our condo I could find them on my iPad which hadn’t died. And that’s when I could check my email and delete 90% of it. And social media, which I could give a cursory glance.
It turns out I only really missed two apps – the weather app and the camera. Funny, who knew weather was the most important thing, but it was in planning our daily outings. I constantly, more than I should have, pestered my family to look up weather reports for me. And maybe a couple of times to do a Google search for info while we were out. In place of my camera app I dragged along my real camera. Yes, it was heavier and bulkier, and yes, I couldn’t immediately share the photos on social media. But when I thought about it, that wasn’t such a bad thing.
I survived very well without my smart phone, and spent the week paying much more attention to the people around me, even if they were busy looking at their phones in the meantime. I’d like to believe my stares influenced them to look less at their phones and be more present with me.
It’s funny that last week two newsletters popped into my inbox with other people debating similar issues. One writer I follow, Alexandra Franzen, put up a post titled “Why I Do Not Use Social Media Anymore”. There are many thought provoking facts and figures along with her personal feelings in this post. Another company called “Gaping Void”, which creates thought provoking artwork for businesses, shared one titled “I prefer to let my phone do my living for me”, with some very solid reasons why you shouldn’t.
After this experience it’s tempting to give up my smart phone altogether and get a simple text and call phone. But I do want to share things on Instagram, even though it wasn’t necessary on vacation. And weather… okay, I’m a weather junkie. Always have been. Love those impending big storm reports. But, seriously, I think life can be lived just fine without a smart phone, maybe even better. This is a habit, and I’m going to try to be more mindful of limiting it so that I’m not so tied to this little screen in my hand or pocket that I miss what’s going on in the real, not virtual, world.
*I went to the Apple store last night and they confirmed that they couldn’t tell what happened to my phone. It was too dead to run their diagnostic equipment. They peeked inside to confirm that it wasn’t dropped in water – too bad they didn’t believe me. But, to their credit, they simply gave me a new phone which I received with less joy than I had expected last week in its absence.