What am I supposed to do without my CELL PHONE?!?!?!

The blessing and curse of the information age; Cell Phones.

Pst... I can still hear your entire conversation!

As someone who is pretty much in a three-way relationship with my phone and my girlfriend, I both love and hate my chronic obsession with my cell phone. I love the accessibility to information, i.e. emails, texts, internet, and fun time-wasting apps. However, I hate that I feel naked without it, almost moreso than I do without my wallet.

That hard-pressing urge to answer a ringing phone that people used to speak about when mobile phones were a figment in some engineer’s fantasy dream has been reinvigorated into a new chronic compulsion of our new generation. Admitting I have a problem is the first step. I mean I’ve got it bad, I know which vibrations go to which functions of the phone. I have four email accounts forwarded to my phone. With this many things I have going on through my phone, no wonder it is constantly going off. I do enjoy the mystery of hearing a little chime and not knowing who has emailed me, or texted me, or is calling me. I think this is the connection we feel with the world now. It used to be we had to walk or bike to someone’s house if we were in need of seeing them or speaking with them. That is a lot more investment into a relationship when juxtaposed to pressing a few buttons on a little hand-held.

Where would this world be without this instant access culture we have created. Centuries upon centuries did just fine without the internet in their palms, or the fastest 3G network at their disposal at all times. Why then, am I a nervous and psychological wreck when I am separated from my all-in-one pocket device?

Answer: It is a cultural crutch. We feel the need to be in touch, in contact with the “world” at all times. I know that in conversation if a question arises that I do not know the answer to, I will quickly reach for my all-knowing iPhone to learn of the answer. This is an odd compulsion that I find some inner-conflict with. I have always been told the garnering of knowledge is to be rewarded. However, my compulsion may push me to accumulate and broaden my knowledge base at inappropriate times.

It has been said that the present person’s attention rate is decreasing. This is also said be directly related to the immediate gratification of the current society’s culture. Magazine and newspaper articles are shortening due to the fact that people do not have the attention spans anymore to invest the time into reading them in their entirety.

I attribute this lack of attention-span to our,

“If it can’t be communicated in a paragraph, or 140 character tweet, than it isn’t worth my time” society.

The positives of our immediate access to virtually anything also come with negatives. Positives include the fact that we can learn and increase our knowledge base at any moment. With built-in GPS we are almost never lost anymore. We know which restaurants to go to and which to avoid thanks to Yelp. And the list continues. However, the negatives revolve around the lack of restraint we have in relation to the newly garnered powers of knowledge gathering. We much remember to maintain our sense of civility, respect, and above all, our manners. We must value the company of those we are among, rather than discrediting that value by being more attentive to the vibrations of our celluar.

I am guilty of this quite a bit and I acknowledge that. Accepting the issue is the first step towards fixing it, or so I am told.

6 Responses to “What am I supposed to do without my CELL PHONE?!?!?!”
  1. Michelle says:

    I still don’t like cell phones, or actually, any phones for that matter. I never liked talking on the phone much. I’m a “get to the point” kinda person. I hate sitting on the phone listening to rambling while my ear gets warm, and I get a crick in the neck. πŸ˜‰ I attribute my hatred of phones to several things.

    One reason may be because my dad is such a technophile, and we always had cutting edge technology first compared to my friends. We had a car phone in the late 80s, and I hated having to miss my favorite songs, because my dad was chatting on the car phone. We also had a giant phone system with individual voicemail boxes when I was in high school, so we rarely answered the phone for “fear” we would actually have to write a message down for a sibling/parent. If the phone rang, we had to pause the movie, or get up from dinner, or miss our shower time (six kids in my family). Still, I hate when the phone rings, and I rarely answer it.

    I delayed getting a cell phone for as long as possible. I only got one for work (2000), because I had to pick-up international students from the airport pretty regularly. I never had it on me if I wasn’t on an airport run. Now, I have one so that if my kids and I are ever in need of assistance, we can make a call. Otherwise, I love being without my cell phone. I like the feeling of being unreachable, out in the world. Maybe the person who is calling will get the hint and go be out in the world, too.

    Art and I communicate mainly by texting throughout the day, but I can text him on my time. Being on my terms, on my time, is pretty important to me. I don’t like imposition, and I’ve always felt that way about the phone. Phone calls are an interruption. I especially hate having to hear other people’s phone calls, especially if they are prattling on about nothing consequential and being indecent around my “little ears.”

    I encourage you to make it “silent” whenever you are with someone. Human connection is becoming a rarity these days. Plus, making people feel like they are your priority is important. Be out in the world, by yourself, away from invaders. Listen to your own thoughts. Use your instincts. Smell the flowers, and all that.

    By the way, you can call me anytime. πŸ˜‰

  2. Tyler Quillin says:

    Haha! I still remember walking into Smith’s with my everso suave father and his brick of a cellphone jammed into his back pocket. I would have had to have been around 5 years old, or so.

    I agree that cell phones interrupt our lives and that they are seemingly unnecessary in many ways. But, they also offer great pluses as well. I mean look at how fast someone can get a hold of emergency services via cell phones now. They can triangulate your location for faster response times, etc. Those are the amazing contributions technology makes to our society. However, as we have already touched on, with the good comes the bad, it is a double-edged sword.

    I am extremely frustrated with those who go through lines on the phone, i.e. the grocery store and Starbucks. That is just infuriating! They can’t get off the phone for 30 seconds and show the person serving them the respect of one simple three, maybe four, sentence discourse?! When I worked a Best Buy, we used to get those people on the bluetooth earpieces. I would ask them if they needed anything or had any questions in the most friendly manner known to man and all I would get is the meanest, most vicious finger pointing to their earpiece coupled with a death glare that would certainly put my grandparents in the hospital from fear of the person being possessed by the devil. My only response: Is that necessary?

    This might revert back to my other blog about class, but where has the decency gone. It is like because they “can” be on the phone, they need to be and will be.

    πŸ™‚ Same goes to you Michelle! You have my number!

  3. Brian says:

    True, we may have an addiction or compulsion to our mobile devices, especially iPhones, but look at the majority of help they have offered.

    Yes, I am in the category of “Massive User”, with on average 400,000-600,000 kb of data used per month, 2,500 minutes on the phone per month, and roughly 14,000 texts per month. AT&T stopped sending me a bill at 300 pages, once it cost them $5 to ship. Also, I sometimes feel the spot on my leg just where my cellphone sits in my pocket vibrate, and my phone is across the room.

    But the benefits in my opinion outweigh the bad. Sure we may have an obsession for knowledge, but at the same time these devices have made information and technologocial advances easy and more powerful than ever before, at an alarming price reduction.

    Instead of spending tens of housands of dollars on medical equipment, a doctor can now take out his phone, look up and diagnose symptoms, plug in a blood pressure cuff, save readings, review X-rays, and text another doctor for a second opinon, while attaching a photo of said x-Ray or skin lesion.

    As I sit writing this, I am using facebook mobile, reading the blog on a WPtouch theme plug-in, and responding to this on an in-app browser. What would have taken me 25 minutes to do before on a computer hidden away in a room or home office, now can be done from the comfort of my couch while engaging in conversation with family and friends.

    Yes, we ARE addicted, but that addiction has made us intellegient, compassionate, and the world a VERY small place…

    • Tyler Quillin says:

      Agree with most of what you have to say Brian. But, the main point of the blog it to point out that despite the immensely positive contributions it has made to our society. I still feel that there should be some more manners and etiquette emphasized on the use of them, i.e. when, where, how, etc. I love me cell phone and I am in no way knocking the absolute majesty of all that it does, but there are some people that, admittedly are probably just as rude in all other facets of their lives, but there needs to be some kind of emphasis placed on the respectful and appropriate use of them. That is all I am saying.

      • Brian says:

        Oh, and I agree totally. I always either hang up or put the phone down in a checkout line, and I never use it when ordering food. That sounds like a little picket guide… Cell phone ettiquiite 101

      • Tyler Quillin says:

        Ohh man! We could totally write a book! What is that one book that the one guy wrote about basically being a womanizing jerk? It was like a big lesson/editorial/biography of how to live like an utter and complete misogynist. We could make millions on a little goof cell phone etiquette book.

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