Friday, August 22, 2014

Incommunicado again

Today I left my phone at home. It was a very unsettling experience that left me feeling a bit at odds and ends. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done that, which is part of the reason it felt so odd.

I can tell you exactly when it was that I last left home without my phone: January 16, 2007 (my blog has a far better memory than I do). Back in 2007, I still had an ordinary phone—in fact, everyone had an ordinary phone: It would be six months before the very first iPhone would be released. So, back then, it was just a device for phone calls and the odd text. Oh, and it’s clock, because by then I no longer wore a watch.

Seven years later, my iPhone isn’t just for calls, and I send/receive far more texts than I ever have before. But it’s so much more: It gives me access to my calendar, my contacts (aka address book), my email, plus social media. I can look up stuff on the Internet. It also has a pretty good digital camera. My phone is, in a very real sense, my pocket-sized connection to the world, a communication device in pretty much every possible technological sense of the word.

The truth is, I do most Internet things—social media, email, web surfing, posting to this blog—from my desktop computer or, rarely, my iPad. But my phone gives me the same connectivity my desktop computer gives me, just with a much smaller screen and a teeny, tiny keyboard.

So, I arrived for my check-up and the periodontist and went to check the time on my phone (I still don’t wear a watch), and realised I’d left it at home. I wondered to myself whether I had enough time to race home to get it, but decided I didn't (in fact, I may have). Then I thought about how nobody (especially Nigel) could reach me, which is very unusual in itself. When I was making my next appointment, they had to write it down on this thing called a “card” using a device called a “pen”, because I didn’t have my phone to put it right on my calendar.

Okay, so obviously I’m having a little fun at my own expense, and clearly I survived my ordeal. But, I did go directly home after my appointment (I’d planned on running errands). And that change meant I ended up not going out again, which isn’t important except the change in plans happened only because I’d forgotten my phone.

One last thing was very different this time than back in 2007. Then, I said about being without my phone that “it felt a bit liberating to be incommunicado, even if it was only for a short time.” I definitely didn’t feel that way this time, probably because I use my phone for so much more than I did seven years ago. Back then I also said, “I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to the past,” and that’s even more true now.

But I think maybe I should start wearing a watch again. Just in case.


rogerogreen said...

Whereas I do wear a watch, and use a "pen" and "paper" to keep track of things. Or usually e-mailing muself. I have no smartphone, my Android's dead, my cellphone's MIA, and I'm fine with that. It's funny that OTHER people are far more upset with not being able to reach us than The Wife and I are than we are - I LIKE not being reached.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I could not live like that, Roger—I hope we can still be friends…

rogerogreen said...

Well, as long as you keep that - what do you call it? - email?