Posts Tagged ‘technology’

The week without a smartphone, part 2.

Read part 1 here.

My phone was still utterly and completely dead after we took it out of the rice and charged it on that Sunday. No amount of coaxing would bring it back to life.

We decided to order me a refurbished phone. But in the meantime, I was still phoneless.

While I had access to internet at our new place, where we moved into that Saturday, I did not have access to a phone in the following situations:

•  Waiting for the cleaning people to arrive at our apartment for a move-out cleaning. If there were any scheduling issues or changes, I wouldn’t know about them unless my husband drove back to tell me about them. In the end, it all went smoothly.

•  Using maps for directions as I drove to a new medical specialist’s office. I looked up directions beforehand and wrote a note to myself about which street to turn onto. Luckily, it turned out to be fairly easy to find.

•  Receiving e-mail notifications from my clients about possible new transcripts to proofread while I was away from home. I have notifications set on my phone so I can respond to them soon after I receive their message, no matter where I am at the time. Sometimes not responding immediately (especially if it’s a new client) can mean losing out on a job. While this could have been an issue at another time, it wasn’t this particular week.

•  Driving anywhere in my car. Now, I didn’t actually need my phone for this purpose, but I realized that I feel more secure having my phone with me in case my car suddenly broke down, etc.

•  Double-checking digital coupons in the grocery store. I often use the store’s app to reference these when we shop. Instead, I had to go off our list and what I remembered.

Despite some minor inconveniences, I also felt relieved and more free without my phone. When we went out to eat, I didn’t have a phone to distract me while we waited for our order. During meals in and outside our home, my husband and I make more eye contact and connected more with each other. When I didn’t have a phone that I could get out, he used his less.

For the past while, I’ve been receiving what I assume are spam phone calls. They rarely leave messages. When they do, it’s usually pitching a business loan or something along those lines. I didn’t miss the buzzing of my phone, only to discover it wasn’t a phone call I wanted to take anyway.

Without a smartphone, I didn’t have much inclination to check my e-mail or look at my Facebook feed or browse Yelp. When waiting for my husband to return the moving truck on Saturday, I sat in my car and just listened to a CD. With more of my attention focused on the music, the lyrics seemed crisper and clearer than ever before.

That is one thing to say about smartphones: they’re not terribly helpful for mindfulness. Aside from mindfulness or meditation apps, many of the functions often pull me out of the present moment.

My new phone arrived on Thursday, and we got service on it on Friday. It’s nice to know that I can now reach people and people can reach me if needed.

There was also a certain freedom to having space where I was away from internet and a phone, unreachable. I felt more present with myself than I usually am.

So now that we’re settling in our new place and I have a new phone, I am trying a new thing: to charge and keep my phone in a different room at night.

I also want to be more conscious of how I use my phone in general. It’s just not necessary to be connected all the time.

Not having a smartphone for a week was a good reminder for me to look up, to look around, to keep my phone out of view (or even out of reach) when I want to be present and connect more with myself and the people around me. Yes, it’s convenient to have a smartphone. But there’s so much more to life than having access to phone calls, messages, and the internet at all times.

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The week without a smartphone, part 1.

I wrote this last Friday, June 22, 2018.

I’m at the apartment. We officially move tomorrow, so I am taking care of the odds and ends.

We turned in our modem for our apartment and exchanged it for one for the condo, our new home. My computer has no wireless connection here.

My phone is out of service, at least for the time being, because my water bottle leaked in my purse this morning. It is currently sitting in a bag of rice for the next two days or so.

I am disconnected from the internet entirely. I am out of contact, out of reach.

On one hand, it’s nice. There’s a certain quiet I feel when I don’t have internet access. It’s like I’ve shut off all outside voices, ones that are often incessantly on even when I’m physically alone – unless I choose to unplug.

This feeling of quiet definitely helps me regulate after being overstimulated by the morning’s events of taking stuff over to the condo, discovering my phone wouldn’t work, and the stress of moving in general. It’s a lot to take in. I really don’t need to add any more outside stimulation.

I don’t currently have any transcripts to proofread. I have an out-of-office reply on my business e-mail for the next two days.

Other than missing the ability to communicate with my spouse, I really don’t need to be connected. I can pack, clean, do laundry, read, do Nia – all without an internet connection.

Yes, there were days before smartphones, and the time before that I would text. But really, the last time I didn’t have access to instant phone communication of some sort (aside from a few camping trip) was before I graduated from college, before I got my first cell phone in 2005. Compared with many of my college classmates, I was a late cell phone adopter. I remember my ex complaining that she couldn’t reach me easily, that it was annoying and inconvenient to have to leave a message on my landline voicemail and wait until I returned to my dorm room to get the message. I remember the freedom of traveling abroad and being connected only when I went to an internet café or library.

On the other hand, I found myself almost immediately wanting to reach for my phone, to check something, to check anything. Messages? Social media? E-mail? Yelp? Sometimes it actually doesn’t seem to matter what as long as it’s there. Maybe that’s the addictive nature of social media and technology: once you have access, it’s hard to consciously choose to stop. Yes, there are definitely things that I need to check on and keep up with. But how many e-mails do I actually get that are relevant each day? A few. How many times do I need to check social media? Maybe once or twice, maybe more if I’m looking for an answer to a question in one of my proofreading groups. How many times do I need to check the news to stay informed? Maybe twice a day or so, although there’s part of me that balks at that. I don’t need to be informed all the time, but I like to know what’s going on.

I do feel cut off. And it’s nice and freeing and it’s a bit disorienting.

The daily news cycle lately has been even more distressing. While I think it’s important for me to know what’s going on locally, nationally, globally, I don’t think keeping up on every detail constantly is necessarily healthy. I end up feeling distressed, frustrated, somewhat hopeless. More information on how to donate or help in some way adds some purpose and relief. But it’s important to be mindful of how much information to take in, what to do with it, and when to take a break.

I am relieved that I can shut it off for a little bit. Yes, I could go to the condo or Starbucks if I needed to get access to the internet. But I have things to do here.  And I definitely need the time to just be here and do what I need to do. There are certainly fewer distractions this way.

And this is a good reminder that I can consciously choose to step away, to disconnect, and unplug. The internet, with all its benefits and disadvantages, will be there when I need it. For now, I’m enjoying the quiet.

Friday link roundup 6/16

This week, there was a shooting at a congressional baseball practice. This is one of many mass shootings this year. CNN reports on the frequency of mass shootings in the United States this year.

June 12th was the first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL. Survivors, family members, and first responders share their stories.

This mother of six daughters doesn’t teach her daughters to dress modestly — she teaches them about self-respect and body autonomy.

About the (human) voice of Siri and the continued development of artificial intelligence virtual assistants.

When it’s hot, popsicles are a great way to cool down. Some layered popsicles to make this summer.