Smartphones and a Cat

When was the last time you just sat and waited? I mean really; sat and waited on something without resorting to mindlessly scrolling through Facebook on your phone?

Right about the time I hit highschool was when flip phones started gaining popularity and it was mindblowing enough to be able to send short snippets of text to your friends — from anywhere, at any time… and that’s about as high tech as it got back then, aside from timeless classics like Snake.

Skip ahead a few years and SMS capabilities are the least of what Android and iOS have to offer, what with strategical money traps like the infamous Candy Crush Saga and bastardized strategy games like Clash of Clans. Can’t forget about Facebook and Twitter either, where you can keep all your estranged friends up to date with your disappointingly average life or retweet super generic, super relatable 140 character bursts of text to strangers to show everyone how unique and trendy you are.

If you’re too self-conscious to go out in the real world and interact with people long enough to get laid, OKCupid and Tinder can always get the job done. Hell, Amazon’s even getting into the online grocery market, last I heard. You literally never need to leave the house.

That’s probably why most of us can’t sit still on a smoke break or in a waiting room for more than five seconds without whipping out our iPhone and going through the standard routine of refreshing news feeds, collecting valuable in-game currency and getting back to texts that are suddenly important enough to warrant a reply.

Aside from the endless possibility for Google and other advertisement agencies to inject ads and microtransactions into every facet of our lives, smartphones have trained us to favor the easy route and wholeheartedly immerse ourselves in the magical land of the Internet whenever boredom comes knocking — on demand, at any place and at any time.

Last night I had a moment of clarity though, thanks to an old grey cat who hangs around outside my house. He’s seen a lot of shit in his 14 years on this planet and through it all, as long as I’ve known the guy, he’s never cared where he’s at or what’s going on with the rest of the world. He’s content. Whether he’s inside or outside, whether it’s 110 degrees and humid or 20 degrees and snowing all it takes to make him happy is stale cat food and a lap to sit on.

I catch him gazing off into the TV every now and again and there’s no denying that he gets a little anxious around unfamiliar people, but he’s pretty chill for the most part and he definitely doesn’t need a tiny, pocket sized computer to get lost in at the slightest sign of a social challenge. He’s cool with just sitting there and admiring his surroundings; trying to figure out what’s making that noise in the next room or finding a good box to hang out in.

With any luck, I don’t think I’ll be resorting to setting up camp in a cardboard box any time soon but this little dude definitely keeps me in check. I can’t help but put down the phone and look up at the stars at night when I go out for a smoke because of the impact this chill ass cat has had on me. Humanity would do well to take humble life lessons from our four-legged friends every once in a while.

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