Friday, May 17, 2013

I Left My Cell Phone at Home! Can I Live a Whole Day Without It?

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By Rose Strong

Every morning I pack my lunch into my L.L.Bean Boat and Tote™ bag, get my travel mug of coffee, give the cats their treats and back out the door, making sure it’s locked.  Starting my car, I adjust the radio, put on my seat belt and off I go.

Then there are the mornings when I feel I’m forgetting something.

I start driving down the road, bopping my head to the music or listening intently to a story on NPR that caught my ear. I’m halfway to work when I realize I’ve forgotten my cell phone. Suddenly, I begin to panic...I mean, really start worrying about how I’m going to get through the day without it.

What is wrong with this picture? I have only started carrying a cell phone regularly for about six or seven years. Much of that time, I didn’t have good service, so it didn’t matter much. I live in a somewhat rural area in Pennsylvania where cell phone service was spotty at best and only in the last couple years has it been good enough that I don’t have dropped calls when at home. Point being, I have lived a lot of years without a cell phone, so what is the big deal?

I don’t make many phone calls or send many text messages, but it does keep me connected to my family and friends. I carry a smartphone that, of course, comes with a data plan for using WiFi and 4G, however, I use it as my home phone as well. I have a land line, but it’s only used for Internet purposes since I live far enough from others to not be offered something faster than a high speed DSL service.

There have been many important messages that have come through that cell phone to make me want to keep it on my desk every day: an ultrasound video of my great nephew, an update from my sister-in-law about our oil tank spillage in our basement at home and the scary texts from my partner when she thought she may have been having a cardiac episode and was being taken to the hospital. It was that day I realized, I would never be without a cell phone. The visit to the emergency room took more than 13 hours and I had to communicate with family quickly about what was happening.

So, what do I do on the infrequent occasions when I leave my cell phone at home? Since I live 18 miles from the office, I bite the bullet and turn around to retrieve it and hope I don’t get a speeding ticket on my way into work to make up for the lost time. Of course, I send an email to the Furia Rubel staff from my driveway that I’m running late before getting back on the road.

I’ll admit, I’m on my cell phone a lot. It’s mostly for the social networking and fun stuff: Facebook, email (both work and personal) Words with Friends, Solitaire – I am addicted to that silly card game – and my camera. I take photos all the time, some I share and many I don’t. I am hooked on Instagram and Pinterest and a Craigslist app comes in handy for my yard sale fun on weekends which I combine with a MapQuest app to find my way around unfamiliar neighborhoods. I use my phone when I’m in the car as a passenger. I am not addicted to it. Really, I’m not. I know because I took this test  and I don’t suffer from all of the symptoms!

Cute great nephew photo!
With that said, as a rule I don’t use my phone in the company of others at a dinner table or during social events unless I’m showing off a photo of my adorable, four-month-old  great nephew or scenes from a day trip my partner and I took recently or a client affair that the Furia Rubel team attended.

I believe in giving my time to those I’m with. I think it’s still important to show appropriate social skills and find myself worrying that the youth today aren’t going to know how to manage communicating face-to-face if they can’t look up from the glowing screen in their hands.

I am sure I could manage to go without my phone for a day or two. I choose not to. What I do choose is a balance between being connected to others through wireless signals and making connections face-to-face. 

What do you remember about the days before cell phones?  Do you also panic when you leave the house without the magic box in your hand? Let me know your thoughts in the comments of this blog. I’d love to know that I’m not alone.

1 comment:

Kristie Finnan said...

Yes, I can totally relate to that naked feeling leaving without my cell phone! And I also have experienced the 4:00 panic- "It's about to die! AND I can't find my charger."

You are not alone. The feeling is also worse with a new baby at home. It's just those few moments of disconnect as a working Mom that worry you.

I remember the days without cell phone, but am thankful I've never had to be a Mom without one!


ps. Your baby- so CUTE!