I got my first cell phone when I was 18. It was a gray flip phone with a flimsy antenna. What could I do with it? I could call people. I could send text messages, even though I had the phone for nearly 6 months before I found anybody to text. I could play blackjack.
It wasn’t an important part of my life. It was a fancy accessory that I didn’t really need. I turned it off at night and barely touched it during the day.
My, how times have changed.
I can’t even imagine a life without my iPhone. We’re dependent on these little boxes of computer chips and whatever else is in there. Some people say that’s a bad thing. I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon yet. That’s another debate for another time.
The reason I have so much trouble imaging life without a phone is because of the things I no longer do because of owning one. Such as:
1. Try to spell big words. Autocorrect is the little thing that has changed us the most, yet nobody really thinks about it. If you don’t know how to spell “advantageous,” just start with the “advan” and start hitting what you think it should be; you’ll get there.
2. Type apostrophes. Another autocorrect “life hack” that we take for granted. The other day, I was writing something on my computer and typed “dont” and then stared at my screen in confusion for a second, before I realized that my computer won’t autocorrect things for me.
3. Remember phone numbers. I have not memorized a phone number since 2008, and that was a fluke. The house across from where I lived, the address was the final four numbers of my friend Justin’s phone number. A mutual friend pointed that out and I memorized it by accident.
4. Remember birthdays. Thanks to Facebook, which might as well be a natural extension of our phones, I no longer know what day anybody entered this life. I can tell you the birthday of Travis, my 7th grade best friend, but I can maybe tell you when 3 out of 100 people I met in college were born. A machine tells me so that my mind doesn’t have to remember.
5. Keep physical photographs. Had Nickelback written that song today, it would probably go “Look at this Facebook post.” I understand that film has become an outdated piece of technology. But, when did physical photographs go that route? My mom’s house has photo album upon photo album of pictures laying around, showing me at my adorable best as a child. Now? She posted a picture on Facebook with the caption “My baby is turning 28.” It’s online, but it’s not in our house.
6. Change clocks. I remember the last time I physically twisted a knob on the back of a clock to “Fall Back” an hour. It was 2009. I was a manager at Pizza Hut and was the first person in the store that day. I looked at the clock on the wall and realized nobody would change it if I didn’t. Now, these things just happen. Signals go from your phone to space and then back to your phone. Magic? I guess.
Most of these technological advances have occurred in only the last 10 years. I’ll leave you with an unnecessary conversation my friend and I had on the subject:
Where will things go in the next 10 years? Or 20, or 50?