Last May, I was golfing in San Diego. Because golf courses are busy there, they often pair you up with another group to keep pace. We got paired with a dude who was proudly slaying a pair of Freezer Zero Arm Sleeves and needless to say, his swag-meter was off the charts. But, as the round progressed, he just kind of trudged along the rough and didn’t say much besides an occasional “nice putt”. My friend eventually said, “That guy is clearly OP today.”
"OP?", I responded.
"Yeah, ‘own program’. Guy is just doing him." Boom. My life was changed. Once I heard the term "OP", it’s all I wanted to be in life. On my own program. Own pace. Doin’ my own thang. OP was the essence of my being and being on anyone else’s program was simply nappenin’ for me.
That following August, I was playing golf at an overly expensive golf course while kicking back some always-hydrating voddy-sodas with some additional voddy-toppers. Had ta do it. One turned into two and two turned into ten. Next thing I know, we’re on a boat en route to a microbrew/music festival across the bay. Super heady, I know. At the festival, ya boy got certified on one (Drake reference, no biggie). When we began taking the boat back, I started living my own personal Tony Soprano-esque fever dream where I’m falling into the water with my phone in my pocket and I don’t have enough time to save it.
We didn’t have any rice, so we tried soaking it in quinoa. Silly white people. Everyone knows quinoa don’t fix a fuckin’ iPhone. The phone was toast, and while this period of my life inspired The Trials and Tribulations of Going a Month Without an iPhone, it also inspired the most OP (and least Scary) six weeks of my life.
OP was officially a movement. The motto? “If ya see me, ya see me.” I saw the I Forgot My Phone video and threw up all over the place because it’s just so obscenely false. While everyone else was sitting on their phones and living vicariously through others, I’m just Tupac Walking my life away.
I didn’t have to respond to texts. I didn’t have to answer phone calls. I didn’t have to check e-mails. And hell, even if I did want to do that adult shit, everyone around me has an iPhone that I can just do it from. So until there was some type of tragedy in my life, I was just going to keep getting my McConaughey on and keep L-I-V-I-N. Because that’s what OP is all about.
The hyper-connectiveness (totally a word) of having a cell phone just disappeared. And, at the risk of getting super real, the classic Sunday Non-Scary Read How Not to Be Alone explains this perfectly.
Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat. The phone didn’t make me avoid the human connection, but it did make ignoring her easier in that moment, and more likely, by comfortably encouraging me to forget my choice to do so. My daily use of technological communication has been shaping me into someone more likely to forget others. The flow of water carves rock, a little bit at a time. And our personhood is carved, too, by the flow of our habits.
Do you want to live your life like that, as a societal pawn that’s carved by the flow of water? Let me answer that for you - no, you don’t. Shit sounds miserable and totally not quiche (see: HBO’s Ja’mie). So next time you forget your phone, soak that shit in and go O-motherfuckin’-P. I’m not saying you have to do it for an entire day or week or month. Just go a night sans-iPhone and try telling me it wasn’t fun going OP. Connect with some people instead of connecting with your Instagram activity feed.
Just make sure someone has Kid Rock’s Live Trucker on their Spotify for those moments that require it.
(Six weeks after my phone took a swim in Lake Michigan, it randomly started working again. Now, as I write this, I find myself surrounded by a laptop, iPad, and iPhone. Throughout writing this, I’ve responded to texts, Viber messages, and Twitter direct messages. I’m not living the #OP Life and I’m fucking ashamed of myself. But as most 20-somethings know, Wednesday is the biggest bar night in America, so with any luck, OP is on the horizon. If ya see me, ya see me.)