There’s one last place in my life where the alerts, texts, pings, and emails, emails, emails! can’t find me: the shower. It is a sacred space where I process information, brainstorm, and sometimes, as a treat, anxiety-spiral over something dumb I said 15 years ago. But it has come to my attention that some of you are violating the sanctity of Shower Thought Time by actually inviting your phones into the shower. When this came to my attention, I did some digging and discovered dozens — dozens! — of waterproof phone mounts designed for the shower. Truly, I am shocked. You guys are bringing your phones into the shower?
I did a little research and polled my Verge colleagues: do you bring your phone into the shower? While it seems that most do not, I received responses that muddied the waters a little. What if your phone is on the edge of the bathtub? What if it’s on a MagSafe mount just outside of the shower? What about a smartwatch? What is a phone? What is a computer? Collectively, we seem to be on the side of keeping our phones out of the shower, but there’s some real gray area to consider.
There’s the question of intention. Bringing your phone into the shower is a new use case to me, but I’m familiar with the concept of the waterproof Bluetooth speaker as a way to listen to podcasts or music in the shower. That seems like an admirable intention to me! Maybe you use your shower time to set a tone for the day or learn something new. I suspect some of the phone-showering population — and some of the gray-area cases — are just using their phones as Bluetooth speakers. Pretty much every flagship phone these days is waterproof, so why not?
Here’s what I think is really at stake here: safe space
But then there’s the smartwatch and the not-quite-in-the-shower-but-still-in-eyesight cases. They’re not bringing their phones into the shower, but aren’t they kind of bringing their phones into the shower — the pings and the emails? I’ve given it some thought (some shower thought time, too). Here’s what I think is really at stake here: safe space, a safe space from your phone where you can just think thoughts as they come to you without interruption from notifications. Where you can’t fill blank space in your mind with a stream of other people’s tweets, TikToks, and photos. For me, that place is the shower.
Outside of the shower, my phone is with me every minute of the day. It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep. It’s in my hand while I watch TV. If I have so much as five idle seconds standing in line or waiting for a coffee order, I take my phone out of my pocket before I even know what I’m doing and look for something — anything — to read. I’ll even look at it in the middle of a flight without connecting to Wi-Fi; I’ll just scroll through Google Photos offline. This is how I live, and I’ve come to accept that my phone is basically glued to me at all times. But in the shower? Nope. I won’t do it.
If I have so much as five idle seconds, I take my phone out of my pocket and look for something — anything — to read
But that’s just me; I think even the phone-showerers among you probably have your own safe space from your phone, some way you separate yourself from the all-knowing device for just a little while. Or maybe you actually figured out how to set up Focus modes, and you’ve achieved the perfect balance of distraction-free time in your life. I think it’s worth defending that space, wherever it is. For me, that place is the shower, and for the 10 minutes a day I spend shampooing my hair, I will not be listening to your podcast, liking your tweet, or responding to your Slack DM. In this safe space, it’s just me and my shower thoughts.