Phones are the new cigarettes

Gramps tells me stories about working at Boeing back in the Mad Men days -- smoking at every meeting, discoloring walls and tables, and taking smoke breaks every hour. Today I go to meetings where everyone is heads down staring at their phones, and they take breaks to spend more time on their phones. Both habits are odd and totally acceptable in their time.

I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to checking my phone for email, texts and social media updates. It's a nearly constant habit during the day, but when I'm home I try to lose my phone until the morning. I'd much rather enjoy my home than the email burden after-hours.

I got Amanda into a similar habit by accident. Ever since she got that damn iPhone she checks email, Twitter and mostly Facebook like they were lifelines. For example, my alarm usually goes off first in the morning and Amanda rolls over to grab her iPhone and check Facebook. It's become a Pavlovian response.

Phones physically resemble cigarettes. Think about it. Amanda's got this white case for her iPhone. The phone itself is round, thin and shiny. She looks cool when she uses it. All of the hip advertisements and commercials feature people using similar phones. The phones are marketed with the same messages, like "With an app, the phones can help you lose weight." All that's missing is Joe Camel.

You know how you don't realize you have a problem until you see someone else has it? That feeling hit me like a phone bill recently. I suppose smokers can relate. I know a lot of smokers who quit because they didn't like how smokers smelled or what their teeth looked like. All of a sudden I'm noticing that I don't like how hooked Amanda is to her phone and I don't like the way I am either. And I'm worse. It's time for us to wear a patch or start chewing that funny-tasting gum that you only get when you're at a bar.

For more on our connected-disconnected culture, check out this video featuring one of Amanda's new favorite, local musicians, Macklemore.