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Unplugged – 48 Hours without a mobile phone

My phone has been driving me nuts since it was last updated to the latest O/S, roughly around 50% it would just switch off. Try and switch it on again, no dice – Charge me please! Plug it in to charge, fine 50% immediately. Really, really annoying. The only way to actually stop this happening was to turn it into low battery reserve mode, which by the way worked for me. I knew I had to take it in at some point to be looked at by the Apple “specialists” but I had been delaying it, purely because not living in London it was unlikely that I would get an immediate solution and thus the phone would have to disappear off without me for days.

This week in the news Apple announced an issue, exactly the same as mine on a few batches bought about the time that I bought my iPhone (6S by the way, I’m on the S wave renewal). Ah ha, all you had to do was take your phone to an Apple Store (or authorised retailer) and they would check the serial number for you. Alas I did, mine was one of the poorly bunch to sail away into the night leaving their owner cut off. Next to me as I was going through the forms another young guy came in with the same problem, “how long would it be away for?” he asked the expert and she replied “Well there is a backlog, 11 – 14 days”. I didn’t say anything but I couldn’t help but feel we were stepping onto the same boat in that moment.

It really seemed like a simple thing, there and then I decided yes I’ll hand my phone over to be sent away. No prep other than a backup I had arranged prior to visiting (saves you a lot of time). It really was only walking out of the store that I really realised, I don’t have my phone. Luckily I knew how to get back to the train station because lets be honest, if you are one of the lucky few who actually know where you are going congratulations! I rely on satnav and phone navigation pretty much 24/7 so that I don’t have to bank that kind of data into my brain, this was a major downfall last time I was in Central London and late for a neurology appoint (with a dead phone). I missed that appointment, but I did find the hospital. You’d be amazed how many Londoners don’t know either when asked and how many for obvious reasons don’t want to get their phone out in front of a complete stranger to check for you.

So there I was, without phone. I hadn’t even thought to let my husband know that I was handing it over before hand. I don’t even know his number, it’s only when you don’t have access that you really realise how much you don’t keep to hand. Unplugged I made my way to the train station with that odd feeling like I had left something behind, something important? You know the one. I read the station notice board, yes actually read the board rather than checked my journey using google maps/train app which conveniently tells you the platform to get on. As we sat there on the platform, I  looked up across to the other side and every single person was plugged in. Be that to music, on a call, doing the typical down pose where you hold it to browse. Everyone was present but also absent, occasionally there were brief interludes where the phones would go away and then they’d come out again. Is that what we’ve become as a society? It’s no wonder people don’t talk to each other anymore, why would you? When you can easily avoid the stranger banter by using the phone downward stare pose.

Photo Credit - Banksy/

Photo Credit – Banksy/

It had been twenty four hours without access to my phone. I have Facebook access and internet access on other devices but I definitely struggled to do the simplest of tasks last night in a frenzy of realisation that I would probably have to live the next two weeks living in a cave. I quickly arranged another phone but I had to endure another 24 hours without access, I can tell you that it felt like a long time.

There are positives to being severed from your device, I was able to be one hundred percent focused on Ariella. I can’t remember the last time I was one hundred percent focused on anything. Can you? Really? Always so easy to just break the silence with a quite look at the phone. Those natural pauses, always multitasking. There is something to be said about seeing the beauty in the moment, you miss a lot when you aren’t looking. I’ve always claimed I’m not very observant but really it’s just that I don’t always pay attention.

The timing of this could not have been worse, we had planned to go to the cinema that night to watch Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. To enable this I had booked our lovely babysitter, but without my phone I had no idea if she was definitely coming until an hour before. I managed to use my husbands phone with my sim to check, no messages so phew definitely still on. The film was great by the way, highly recommend you go see it especially if you are a harry potter fanatic like me.

I even forgot that I had a food delivery arranged, how embarrassing it was to have to call them to tell them to cancel it. I think it only had like four items in the bag, really very absent of me! Without my calendar to hand, things did indeed go a little bit mad. I’m glad to say that normality has resumed however I have a new appreciation for how truly easy these devices make our lives.

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Technology, evolution or the downfall of human social interaction?


I had seen this video circulating the web the past week, after watching it I had so much I wanted to say but rather than start a Facebook debate I figure I would voice my opinions in a way that don’t get lost in a mirage of abusive comments. If you watch the video you might think that the author is being hypocritical given the media he is using the output his voice. You might agree, you might not I don’t really think it matters in all honesty.

What the video made me wonder is this, are we now evolving using technology? Rather than needing to know everything about a subject now, we have a vast sea of factual information in the palm of our hands. We don’t need to retain that knowledge but instead we practice how to manipulate the knowledge into usage. There will always be a place in this world for people who do have brains geared up for data retention, we will always need people who understand in-depth one area without reference though.

Back to the point at hand however, the video seems to be suggesting that using technology excessively is reducing the potential for opportunities in “real life”. Is that really the case? Let’s take the lost person as an example, so the likelihood is that you use your phone to navigate these days if you are lost. In this example the guy doesn’t meet his “soul mate” because he doesn’t ask her for directions. There are lots of opportunities to meet people online, it’s true that this scenario could happen but you could say the same about any situation without technology. It’s a should have, would have, could have mentality and while I agree that I think it’s a nice idea in truth you never know when you with cross paths with the important people in your life. There is nothing to say that won’t be online in a chat room, in the street, on Facebook or other social media.

I think the we are evolving through the use of technology vastly seen in the use of the internet, I say this because we have access to a variety of information (accurate and not so), we have the ability to connect with others across the world, we have a world that never sleeps open for communication, we can work all hours of the day, we speak our minds without any though for the consequences of our actions, everyone has a voice and can be heard if they scream loud enough or invoke the masses to help them. It’s a medium in which the very best and the very worse of human kind can be seen for all to see, I’ve heard so many times people so surprised at the way people talk to each other online. But I always find it amusing because just consider, I’m sure people have been talking about others all along, the only difference is whether it’s in public or not.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. – Albert Einstein

The other side of this of course is that we only have a limited amount of hours in the day, time spent boosting our online personas is  time not spent with the physical world. I enjoyed as a child playing outdoors, but I also enjoyed playing games online and social media in my teens. What I love about our time right now is the choice, if you want to go play outdoors you can. Obviously children who stay in playing games and talking to their friends online must find that easier or more enjoyable than going outside.

It seems like we are on the edge of learning to live differently, we no longer need to learn the roads we drive, the streets we walk, we are always just at the end of a phone ready awaiting for your call. The main theme being always connected, whether that be to people, systems, information we are no longer ever truly alone and yet physically we can be. Learning to live with yourself physically is the new challenge, but people are evolving to learn to accept that physical proximity is not required online.

Personally I like a balance, but I don’t know how long that balance will be able to hang on until one wins over the other. I am excited by the future, the projects that are currently being considered. I believe that technology is going to aid health care (nanotechnology, new prosthesis limbs) and it seems only fitting that the way we socialize and communicate will change along with that. How long before your phone is no longer required and instead we move towards biotechnology and the device is no longer a physical device but part of our body. There will be no device to put down and the database of the internet will be accessible to all, surely this is evolution whether you agree with the direction or not?