I find this a little hard to swallow, both that Charles Simic would be unable to entertain himself for a few days without his smart phone and that it took an enormous natural catastrophe to reunite him with boredom.
I thought not too long ago it was all the rage in the whole pop cultural Internet-is-killing-us narrative that electronic devices were in fact preventing us from those acres of unimpeded reading and deep thought that we all knew we wanted–if only we could stop checking our email! But no, now it’s that they are in fact our only defense against the evil effects of boredom that we’ve forgotten how to protect ourselves from.
The argument just doesn’t wash. Like everyone else, I see people taking their devices out at the least hint that we’re in for five entire minutes of unstructured time, but I really doubt that these things are bringing people any further from whatever bordom-esque sensation they might be feeling in their absence. And the rest of the time, instead of bulwarks against the threat of having to see where your mind wanders if you’d only let it, these devices seem to be distractions from the enormous amounts of work-like tasks that I continually read that Americans subject themselves to.