Call me, maybe

Describe your relationship with your phone.  Is it your life-line, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?

I’ll admit, inspiration was slightly lacking today (sort of: I’ve got another two posts in the works, but they weren’t happening, so I ditched them for something which was).  I turned to WordPress’s 365 days of writing prompts for assistance.  Rather than choosing the “correct” one for today, I picked another I like the sound of and here I am…

I’ll happily confess that my phone is very important to me.  The procrastinating magpie in me has a constant need to feel connected to the parts of the world which interest me – I need to know what’s going on where my friends are, have the latest gossip available and be able to check up on current events (those would mainly be sport-related or involving celebrity babies, rather than politics most of the time).  My control freak side needs to be able to get in touch with anyone I please at any given moment, either to call on a lift home, check up on something or someone, or be contacted by someone in case of new opportunities.

But these days, as for many other people, my phone isn’t just a means of communication, it’s many devices in one.  The other primary functions I use it for are listening to music or taking photos, but other apps I use regularly allow my phone to all at once be an encyclopaedia, travel agent, TV guide, alarm clock, currency converter and many more things besides.

My beloved device is rarely out of sight or reach, but last year I learned that I can go without if I have to.  Working at a summer camp in the US meant that not only was there little time to use my phone, but there was also a lack of ability.  I obtained an international SIM card… which didn’t work in my phone.  And not only that but, unsurprisingly, the camp is in a remote area, which has little or no phone signal (watching the campers on the days they got taken by bus to the nearest town to see a movie was hilarious – at a certain point on the journey, every phone would start buzzing and they’d begin to take calls and answer messages – these kids are as addicted as I am!).  Besides, when I’m a five hour time difference from my family and anyone I need to contact for work or social arrangements is within shouting distance, why would I need to use the phone?

I’ve never seen my personal phone as a nuisance.  Two of my previous jobs have necessitated the use of a work mobile, and I’m still not sure nuisance is the word I’d use to describe that responsibility.  Burden, perhaps.  They certainly gave me a sense of obligation, feeling that I should almost always be “switched on”, particularly as the events industry is regarded as being a job which is far from a typical 9-5.  In the same way that my personal phone does, my business phones always provided me with what was almost a reassurance – if I needed to contact someone, I could; if I needed to reference something, I could.

The increasing prevalence of mobile phones has, I think, all at once made human beings less reliable and more contactable.  We no longer honour commitments we make so faithfully, because it’s horribly easy to call someone or shoot off a text either explaining that we’ll be a little late or crying off altogether.  We’re also aware that it’s not easy to hide – unless you know how to turn off read receipts or be discreet when it comes to geotagging… Overall, I count my phone as a lifeline, rather than a nuisance, and it’s definitely something that I don’t like to go without for long.  Because, ultimately, I know the rest of the world can’t wait to hear what I think about what’s on TV tonight.

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