{14/07/2012}   A few days without a mobile phone

Thanks to o2, I have had a few days without mobile phone reception, though I have had internet access.  Admittedly, I haven’t needed to arrange to meet anyone or had any pressing need to text or phone.  If I had, this would have been more of a rant, and rightly so considering I am paying but not going.  To my surprise, I’m not even fully aware whether my mobile is properly working yet as I am enjoying not constantly checking it, “just in case”.

I was quite late getting a mobile phone, late 2001 being when I succumbed.  For the first few years (I might be exaggerating, I don’t know), I pretty much only used it for emergencies (ie it was off but with me) and to meet friends.  Now I am left feeling alone and lost if my mobile is not about my person or at home with me.  For the past few days, I have made good use of my train journey time without the constant disruption of reading, replying to and writing texts.  My mobile phone in that sense has become my priority.  I might be engrossed in a book, writing something; but my phone will pip (or I will wonder why it hasn’t yet pipped so check to see if I’ve missed a pip – annoying!) and I will immediately down tools and scrabble frantically in my bag for my phone.  It’s also like the elephant in the room if you’re chatting to someone and your mobile pips.  You both hear it and the person without the pipping phone knows that the one with the pipping phone desperately wants to see who’s texting.  So rude.  But most of us do it, ie make our wretched phone our priority and abandon conversation to check it.

Since the last time I ranted about mobile phones, I have made a fairly successful effort to not have my mobile in the room with me so I can’t hear it going off.  But when I do check it, I feel bad about not having replied to any texts I see have been there for a few hours … proof that I am only good at responding to texts in a timely manner if I receive them and reply straight away, because my phone is a kind of addiction.  Which makes me see how a chunk of time can seemingly disappear as you enter into a text exchange relay.  I’m not complaining because it’s cool having an almost real time exchange … hang on, isn’t that what phone calls are for?!  I suppose the point there is an observation that communication has changed enormously since, for example, when I was a teenager, ie the time in my life when friends were a constant source of advice, information and ears to bend – how different my childhood would have been with a mobile phone.  I had to get permission from my parents before I could use the telephone so I rarely used the phone, but I did have friends who lived close by and we talked face to face.

For a few days without my mobile phone (though I emphasise again I did have email so was in touch with a few people, but email on my mobile isn’t intrusive like texts and calls; I only know I have emails if I check) I surprised myself by actually enjoying not having the interruption.  However, maybe because I did have email, to have left my phone at home would probably still have rendered me a bit twitchy, but I toyed with the idea of leaving my phone at home and I would never normally even entertain such a ludicrous suggestion as to leave my phone at home.  *Shakes head incredulously*


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