For the last 48 hours I’ve been without a phone. Aside from the general anxiety of having all my info out there in the hands of a stranger, and the cost of replacing my gizmo — not to mention replacing all that personal info, literally thousands of phone numbers — it has reminded me what life was like back before we were all tethered to our phones.
For 48 hours no one could get in touch with me. I couldn’t check my email on a moment to moment basis and I couldn’t obsessively play games, see who’d “viewed” me on dating sites or watch my Facebook friends’ lives scroll by. It meant that when I had a spare second, instead of burying my face in a tiny screen I actually looked around. At people. And nature and stuff. It meant that, in bed, I read a book instead of falling asleep sparring with a computer over a Scrabble board. It meant that I had some time…to actually think!
Of course it also meant that when I was supposed to meet a friend and plans changed, I couldn’t let them know. I couldn’t look up the address of an event I was destined to attend. I didn’t know what time it was because I no longer have any clocks in my apartment. If I’d needed to wake up at a certain time, I didn’t have an alarm to set. If there had been an emergency, I would’ve had to knock on a neighbor’s door, since I no longer have a land line. I was, truly, out of touch. Off com.
The extent to which we’ve become reliant upon our cell phones has been decried since their advent so I needn’t belabor the point. But I’ll admit that I kind of enjoyed my personal experience of finding myself tether-less. Which is not to say that I’ll be repeating it by leaving my brand-spanking-new iPhone home anytime soon. Although…
I went to see Mike Daisey‘s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” at the Public the other night, coincidentally a night I was without my little iFriend. It was quite sobering. I already knew that thousands of Chinese people were toiling away in enormous factories to assemble our beloved iTechnology devices and I was aware of the hideous conditions. Daisey’s show really drove the point home. And left me wondering, what’s the answer? Can we just stop buying technology? Or using it?
I don’t have any ideas at the moment. I’m too busy scrambling to reassemble my life, a life that’s lived through the ether. So, uh, if you think I should have it, email me your phone number!