The average iPhone user looks at his phone about 80 times per day, according to Apple. That’s nearly 30,000 times a year. In the Wall Street Journal, nov­elist Nicholas Court won­dered whether these devices “hijack our minds.”

This got me thinking: How often do I look at my phone? Why do I look so con­stantly? Is there any truth to this business about hijacking our minds?

So I put my phone in a cup­board for two days.

Friday at 6 p.m., I set my phone in an empty cabinet above my stove, with the deter­mi­nation not to touch it until the fol­lowing Sunday evening, 48 hours later. The moment I put my phone down, it got caught in a Facebook group chat. The whole cabinet started vibrating. I made it about five whole minutes before I asked my girl­friend, Ellen, to reach in and turn it off.

Then I was able to forget about it — that is, until I tried to tell the time. Over the next two days, I probably reached for my phone ten times to check the time.

Phone­lessness brought tension to my Friday night. While I had planned to go to a jazz concert in Howard Music Hall, Ellen wanted to take my car to party with her friends downtown. After handing over the keys and real­izing that I now had neither a phone nor a car, I asked to borrow her watch. We set up a time for her to pick me up after the concert. I held her hand and gave her a look of such sincere anxiety that she felt genuine pity. “Please don’t forget me,” I said.

She didn’t forget, but the concert ended sooner than I had expected, and so I stood around on the curb, waiting for my ride. Passers-by gave me funny glances. That’s when I realized that standing around without a phone looks weird. It felt weird too. I just stood there like an idiot, looking around the dark parking lot and clutching my girlfriend’s watch like a lifeline.  

The next morning, I got out of the shower to find that I did not have Siri to give me a weather forecast. I stood naked in front of my dresser, scratching my head and won­dering what to wear. Even­tually, I realized that I could just look out the window and guess.

That day I took Ellen to Ann Arbor. Though I tried to nav­igate by memory, even­tually she had to whip open iMaps on her phone. I was struck again that day by how many times I reached for my phone to check the time, but aside from that, I didn’t miss it much. I’m not sure how we would have gotten around without Ellen’s phone though.

On Sunday evening, I retrieved my phone from the cup­board. After a full 48 hours, I figured that I would have around ten texts from people won­dering where I had gone. But when I checked iMessage, all I found was a middle finger emoji from my dad.

No, I’m not making that up. He had just dis­covered emojis over the weekend and decided to try out a few.  

All middle finger emojis aside, my exper­iment was incon­clusive. I had hoped it would teach me some­thing ground­breaking about myself and my device, either revealing my absolute depen­dence on my phone or showing me the glory of imag­i­nation unhin­dered by the shackles of modern tech­nology.

My con­clusion is that life without a phone is about the same, if slightly more incon­ve­nient.

While I’m not con­vinced that my phone has “hijacked my mind,” I do have a better under­standing of its ben­efits. I rec­ommend this exper­iment to anyone who is won­dering what their phone is really good for. In my expe­rience, the things that you really miss are actually important. While I didn’t waste a thought on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, I missed being able to text people to coor­dinate meetings, I missed the daily weather forecast, I missed Spotify, and most of all, I missed knowing what time it was.

Hey Siri, remind me to buy a watch.

Aaron Andrews is a senior studying English.