photos: Fee-Gloria Groenemeyer
Four days ago my phone stopped working.
I was in Germany for the weekend, took the six hour ride from my home in Austria to see my sister perform in her musical ‘Anatevka’. As we crossed the border, I received a notification on my phone: ‘SIM card locked for this region’ (phone and SIM were completely fine though). The message never disappeared during my stay in Germany, and it remained all my screen showed me even once I was back home. For four days, I could not send or receive text messages, and was unable to make calls. Only the internet worked – but we had no wifi in the flat we stayed at.
My phone was dead for four entire days.
For most people I know, this would have been torture, the first circle of hell, a horror scenario. I didn’t mind it all that much. Sure, would have been good to be able to make certain calls, but I knew that they could wait. The few text messages I missed were also not the end of the world, and the various chats I was engaged in were all about trivial stuff. It was, in fact, a bit like being on holiday: I didn’t plan it, but as it was, you couldn’t reach me, and that was that. There was only one thing that made me pace around my flat restlessly: I wanted to hear my boyfriend’s voice. We live in different different towns, several hundred kilometres apart from each other, and we only get to meet on weekends. We are in love, and we miss each other – and now we couldn’t even chat on the phone.
All the pacing must have invigorated my brain.
In a moment of clarity, I had a brilliant idea. Public payphones. Of course! Super romantic.
But do they even exist still? I racked my brain and visualized every street I could think of. The memory of one single payphone started to take shape in my head, but would it still be there? Some more thinking, and I came up with a couple of potential alternatives, so I decided to go for it. It was 10pm, but that didn’t stop me. I got in my car and drove to the places I suspected payphones at. Arriving at the first, I saw that the public phone had been removed. The second booth was occupied by a gigantic spider, which made it impossible for me to get in. Also, remembering I didn’t actually have anything to fear from an insect so much tinier than myself, shame prevented me from destroying the spider’s web with a stick. The third phone was not occupied by creatures of any description, and – it worked.
I felt nervous like on that distant day when, still in school, I had to call my parents from a similar phone to confess that I had missed the last bus and that they’d need to get me. (For parents of kids living on the countryside this can be a considerable hassle. It can mean that work like bringing in the hay will have to be done in pitch black darkness, in winter it can mean having to clear the driveway from masses of snow before being able to drive out).
I inserted a coin, dialled the number with a beating heart (don’t get it wrong girl, no erase button on these old things and waited to hear his smokey ‘hello’. ‘The number you have dialled is currently…’ – Mailbox! If I hang up now, the phone will swallow my coin and my boyfriend will later see a missed call from an anonymous number on his phone. Waiting for a callback was no option for obvious reasons. A bit embarrassed, I waited for the beep and started talking. I babbled away until I was cut off once my coin dropped. The next day he tried to call my sister. She drove all the way over to my flat just to let me know with a written message she left on my door. When I got home and saw the message I went straight back to the phone booth, this time equipped with more coins than the first time around. I reached him, and at good last, we could talk. For a couple of blissful moments, I had his beloved voice in my ear. spartan and confined as the booth was, I don’t think a phone call has ever made me so happy before. It was only then that I fully realized how important my phone conversations with him are for me: with all the distance between us, it felt almost as if we were lying in each others arms
Every word an embrace, every breath a kiss.
The fourth day after my phone stopped working, I finally had it fixed in a mobile phone store. I could finally call, text and chat again as much as I wanted. The stream of messages engulfed me again. And I realized that life had somehow been beautiful without in the days before.
I had been more creative, even my friends were forced to be more creative just to get in touch with me. My sister had gone out of her way to deliver a message to me.
Somehow, I had been more relaxed, more focussed, and I had thought about what I wanted to say on the phone, lest I wasted precious time.
I realized that my communication in general had been much clearer and more effective.
It was a bit easier to see what was – and, above all, who – was important to me.
I took up with hassle and inconveniences without thinking twice.
It was easier to see which communication was worth my time and effort.
My attention was not clogged up with trivialities and ultimately pointless distraction –
I had entered a somehow more conscious state of mind. .
We often lack this sense of self, this sense of clarity in our lives. We don’t even realize that we’re missing something, we’re too tired to notice, or too convinced that we’re busy. Often we fall into the trap of believing that consuming all this empty, disposable distraction is a way of relaxing. I’m sure I’m not the only one sometimes spending half the night watching stuff on youtube, flicking through photos, filling out pointless questionnaire-games or slowly drowning in the ocean we call Pinterest – despite the fact that I’m tired and need sleep.
If something is important to us, we are ready to overcome big obstacles and to put up with major hassle. We are ready to invest our energy, to make an effort. We asses the importance these cherished things have for us, and then allocate the energy necessary to get it. Sometimes, the more important things are for us, the bigger the effort is that we have to make.
Often we don’t even realize that people and things become valuable to us because we gift them our time and energy. The value increases along with the effort we make, and the more energy and time we invest the more we cherish the object of our desire! If we invest more in a person or a thing (like an exam, a blog, a competition), we appreciate her/him/it more.
And whenever our efforts ‘pay off’, we are that much happier about it. The higher the obstacle was that we needed to overcome, the more beautiful and valuable attaining our goal becomes.
Be proud, you did it!
And even our feeling of pride is so much bigger than it would have been.
About the author:
At some point, Vivien, 28 years old and Austrian, wanted to study art, to enrol in a fashion course and to become a Czech interpreter. But her love for criminology proved to be her strongest passion, so she joined the police and now works as operative criminal analyst. She loves literature and wordplay, writes unfinished stories taken from daily life and sometimes struggles to keep it short, as Masha knows from many a thorough outfit analysis.
Vivien dreams of Ann Demeulemeester and Barbara I Gongini. If she always had it her way, she’d wrap herself in black and grey every day. She also invests in Lena Hoschek and walks to work with a happy smile. She wears what she likes, and she feels her fashion represents her: a little over the top, a little brave sometimes, a bit unconventional and always full of cheerful ideas. Maybe she’ll start her own blog one day after all, about fashion, murderers and the fashion of crime-hunters?
Über die Fotografin:
Fee-Gloria Groenemeyer ist gebürtig aus Wiesbaden und ist zum Modeln (ja, sie sieht auch noch gut aus!) nach NYC gezogen, wo sie ihre Leidenschaft für die Fotografie und Mode entdeckt hat. Nach NYC ist sie nach Paris gezogen, wo sie Mode Management studiert hat und sich parallel auf die Fotografie fokussierte. Mittlerweile ist sie hauptberufliche Fotografin, fotografiert am liebsten stimmungsvolle Portraits und pendelt zwischen Berlin, New York und Paris. Der kreative Kopf liebt das Reisen und Erkunden und baut zur Zeit ein Netzwerk aus Stylisten, Visagisten und Künstlern, mit denen sie gemeinsam coole neue Projekte umsetzt. Sie hat eine wirklich beeindruckende Biographie und das mit (Achtung!) grade mal 22 Jahren! Sie ist also so ziemlich das, was man ein Wunderkind nennen würde und ich bin mir sicher, dass wir noch einiges von ihr hören werden! Hier geht’s lang zu ihrem Instagram.