I’ve had the same phone for a few years now.

I’ve never felt the need to upgrade it to the latest all-singing all-dancing model as I don’t do anything too extreme with the thing. I only need it to let me scroll social media mindlessly for hours on end, beaming bad news and bad opinions straight into my eyeballs and to take the odd photo of the dug.

The phone I’ve had has been through the wars. I drop it every other day, spill stuff on it, stick in my pocket along with my keys thus scratching the screen to the point it’s now rough to the touch and leaving it on charge for so long that it becomes hotter than the surface of Mercury. I thought the thing was indestructible and that it’d be probably outlive me.

Yesterday though, it finally gave up the ghost. I dropped it in the morning, like I do almost every morning, and this time the screen finally smashed. It didn’t just crack like most people’s phones, it landed in such a way that it caused a deep gouge out the front and it now looks like when an angry wee guy burns a bus shelter with his lighter leaving it all bubbly and melted looking.

I’ve now had to relent and get a new one, which is due to arrive imminently, however I have immensely enjoyed not having a functioning phone.

It’s only been about 24 hours without it but already I feel happier, calmer and, somehow, lighter. Previously, I’d have been refreshing Twitter over and over again, trying to keep up with all the discourse, who’s fell out with who, who’s been cancelled now and what bad football opinions are doing the rounds. I felt that if I didn’t keep up with it all, I’d feel out the loop, unable to contribute to any discussions.

Without a phone you realise no one is talking about these things in real life – it all exists only on your phone. If you don’t look at it, it goes away, disappearing into the ether. It doesn’t matter. There was an old tweet from ages ago where someone said if you try to talk about something that happened on Twitter to someone who doesn’t use it, you realise how unhinged it all is, how daft it all is and how much of a waste of time it really is.

I’ve always been quietly mistrustful of my phone as well.

I wrote a short story a wee while ago about a wee guy from Ayr who orders drugs through the ‘Dark Web’ and then finds himself, unknowingly, being surveilled through his phone by an FBI agent in America who can see exactly what he’s doing on his phone and also see him through the phone’s cameras.

I’ve always been sure that front-facing cameras were put on phones to monitor us for some reason, or to scan our faces for facial recognition systems being set up by governments. I assume this isn’t true but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about it anyway. Then I think to myself, why on earth would anyone be interested in what I get up to on a day to day basis? I do absolutely hee haw. If I was being watched through the front camera on my phone, all the person on the other end would see would be me sitting there looking like the dictionary definition of glaikit, on occasion stuffing McCoys into my mouth and not writing my novel.

Without a phone, it feels as if you become a ghost.

I get an email once a month from Google and it tells me exactly how much time I’ve spent in the motor, how many miles I’ve driven, a list of all the places I’ve been and even how far and how long I’ve walked (there’s a very embarrassing disparity between how often I walk versus how I often I drive.) I haven’t turned off this feature because I find it as interesting as I find it to be terrifying.

What if I do turn it off though and my phone, or Google, think I’m up to something? What if I look in the rear-view mirror and see men in black suits in a black jeep following me? At least until my new one comes anyway, I feel invisible. I’m aware that this is now veering into wild conspiracy territory and I’m starting to feel like Ray Liotta at the end of Goodfellas. It’s not exactly news that not being on your phone makes you feel better. Breaking mine has, however, been a much-needed intervention, feeling a bit like it’s come from some higher power, to not be on it so much. To remember that the things that happen on social media – the arguments over trivial things, the relentless unnecessary discourse, the general toxicity of it all – don’t matter when you put your phone down and engage with what’s going on in the real world.