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November 15, 2012

Something happened to me yesterday... its never happened to me before and it was terrible.  Absolutely horrible.  Awful.  The worst.  I accidentally left my cell phone sitting on the kitchen table during my lunch break!  Even better, I didn't realize it until I was pulling into the parking lot at work -- the horror.

Yeah I'm being a little dramatic, but seriously I felt like the world fell apart.  I'm getting anxiety just talking writing about it.  However, it got me thinking about the way people functioned in a time before we were all glued to our cellular devices.

I'm aware that four hours without my mobile hardly deems itself worthy of crisis status, especially since society used to operate just fine without them (honestly though I was elated when we, the phone and I, were finally reunited).  I remember the first cell phone my family owned... it was 1990-something and my mother came home with a black leather bag plugged into her cigarette lighter.  There was some strange, tiny antenna attached to the roof of the car and she informed my brother and I that it was to be used "only in the case of an emergency".  It was then she folded back the top flap of that leather bag and revealed a phone with the number pad on the back of the handset.  I couldn't believe my eyes and put my discman (whoa!) aside so I could hold it and get a closer look.  (I can't believe how quickly I jumped back in time thinking about a discman.  I loved that thing... but I digress.)  The phone was connected to the bag by an annoying, curly cord so it was limited for car use only; nonetheless, it felt like such an evolution to have the option of talking on the phone in the car instead of in the house.
Fast forward to my first cell phone... it was given to me with the keys to my Jeep when I turned 16.  Again, I was lectured with the disclaimer to use it "only in the case of an emergency".  Although it wasn't a bag phone it was quite large, along the lines of the Zack Morris variety.

The antenna went on for days and it had horrible reception so it ultimately lived in the center console the majority of its life.  Can you imagine that now?  A teenager with a cell phone stored away with an average of one or two uses a week?  Using it only in the case of an emergency?  It's unheard of.  Back then though, we weren't texting and the phones weren't equipped to handle Facebook or Twitter or even the Internet.  Hell, they didn't even have the option to take a picture.  It wasn't until a year later when I was given my first flip phone that I thought I was onto something.  I could flip my phone open to answer it and close it {with a slap} when the conversation was over.  Wow.  As time went on, I went through several different phones some were of the flip variety and some weren't, some were smaller and pocket-friendly while others not so much.  Nokia and LG and Motorola all lead me to where I am today... a BlackBerry addict.  I know, I know!  People say Blackberry is a dying brand knocking at the door of extinction.  While I can agree on some points, I do love my BlackBerry and hope that's not true.  I'm crossing my fingers they can pull themselves together and hang in there amidst the army of iPhone and Android users.

Before surfing the web on your smartphone, it's weird to think that people actually interacted with each other face-to-face.  Oftentimes, I see people at dinner together yet neither party is acknowledging the other and instead they're both locked into their individual world of cell phone consumption.  While it's impressive that our society has the technological capability to create and improve ideas involving touch screens and voice recognition, would it be so bad to resort back to a time where families sat down and played board games together or watched the same program on TV instead of everyone running to their separate corners with their electronic devices?  Hopefully, my wife and I will raise Madison where she can embrace both the simpler times and the more advanced ways of communication offered today.  At least that's the goal!  It's such a different time now.

Meanwhile if I find that I've left my cell phone home again, I'll call someone who cares... oh wait... I can't!  Then again, maybe cutting the thread that sews that phone into my hand isn't the worst thing in the world after all.

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