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What I missed without my mobile phone

I’ve just spent almost two weeks without a mobile phone as mine was being repaired. I’m glad to have it back.

But why? What did I actually miss? Obviously, the following list is quite idiosyncratic â?? e.g., I don’t do a lot of texting â?? but here goes:

  • Making outbound utility phone calls. I don’t do a lot of socializing on the phone, but it’s nice to be able to check in on plans for the evening, etc.

  • Emergency call availability. I travelled for three days during my Mobile Hiatus, and asked a friend at a conference if I could give my wife her number in case of an emergency.

  • Google Maps for navigating. I was back to printing out a map and, mainly, annoying any competent adult near me.

  • Interstitial amusement. Waiting for the bus, I can read on my mobile, whereas reading a paper book or magazine while wearing gloves only works if you don’t ever have to change the page.

  • Bus location-finder. Given the way Boston buses cluster, getting to a stop 30 seconds late can make a 20 minute difference.

Things I did not miss:

  • Any of the dumb games. I like games. But other than my obligatory time with Angry Birds back when they were still angry and not just mildly pissed off, none have stuck with me.

  • Interstitial email. It’ll wait until I’m off the bus.

  • Weather reports. It’s a once-a-day thing for me, and my various work computers are fully weather report capable.

  • The time. I have a watch. And an alarm clock that actually wakes me up.

  • Typing on a tiny keyboard, although the slidy virtual keyboard built in to the Samsung Galaxy S III is pretty good, and Google’s speech-to-text is kind of awesome.

  • Misplacing my phone four times a day, although others might claim that that is not strictly the phone’s fault.

And you?

5 Responses to “What I missed without my mobile phone”

  1. I’d miss the ability to stare at my phone instead of engaging with other human beings around me.

  2. NPR this morning told us that the common thing on waking in the morning is to check your phone for the time and the news.
    How did you manage to get any news out of the alarm clock?

  3. Johne, I get the news out of my tablet (a Xoom) first thing in the morning.

    Brad, that’s why God gave us feet: so we can stare at them when someone is trying to talk to us.

  4. Theoretically, I am a hyperconnected person. In fact, I got my first smartphone about 3 weeks ago. It is very useful for email, maps, filling “blank time” spent waiting for things, checking transit schedules, responding to text messages with more than four painstakingly punched-in characters, and taking “you’ll never believe this funny thing I saw” pictures. (Opportunities are few, but I have deeply regretted being without an always-present camera.) I have no games installed, somewhat deliberately, and I would rather look at my watch for the time. I am happier having it than not having it.

  5. For most the sound of an Alarm ringing first thing in the morning is a shock. You set it the night before, for whatever time you would like to wake up, and yet you are still annoyed with it when it actually goes off at the time you requested.If you are like me, then you will prolong the act of getting up by constantly hitting the snooze button – which gives you another few minutes before it rings out again. The irony is that I personally never go back to sleep as I wait in anticipation for the sound of the dreaded clock to go off yet again.;

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