I look at my cell phone and my connection to it and sometimes I am disgusted with how connected my life is to that tiny piece of technology. How all the numbers I know to people I communicate with are no longer stored in my head like they used to be but stored in my trusty phone.
Yesterday at work, my co-worker said that he had to run home quick to grab his cell phone that he’d forgotten at home. He lives close by so it wouldn’t take him long yet the disturbing part was that he said he didn’t know his fiancées number to call her at home and ask her to bring it. That got me thinking. . .who’s numbers do I know off the top of my head and the answers are: my sister, my son’s, one job, and my aunt’s and only because she has had the same home number for over 10 years. If you are reading this, think about how many phone numbers you actually know off hand? Are there many? Do you even try to remember a number once it’s stored in your phone? I know I don’t – I usually will hand the phone to the person who’s number I am getting to have them store it in themselves so I am not even hearing the number being recited to spark a placement for it in my memory, I am not looking at it because then that person – knowing the usual routine of saving a number in a phone – presses save then calls themselves from my phone to have my number and they too just click save without having to have heard the number out loud.
What does that say about us and our technologies?
I have become quite an online user. I pay all of my bills online, I shop online, take online courses. My checks are deposited to my account that I check via online and usually from my phone. I use a google wallet card which immediately sends me a text the second I purchase something with it so that I can instantly see what I have spent. I open my mail box and some days there is nothing in it, not even “junk mail” like ads and coupons because those are online and scan-able through our phones. What life do we have without our technologies? I think of movies like Bruce Willis’ “Surrogates” which didn’t do so well because it tells a true story of what we could and or will look like in the future. I think of Joaquin Phoenix in “Her” and it’s brilliant display of life through the new looking glass – technology.
I use a prepaid phone service because I hated paying monthly for a phone service when some months I use it a lot and some months I barely use it at all so I like to control the minutes I use or the data. With prepaid, I pay per month which I can do online or at store. A week before my month was up I received a text saying just that (Your Month is Almost Over) and at that point I could have repurchased my plan but I chose not to. I LIKE THE SILENCE. I enjoy not being able to be contacted by people and I absolutely hate when my phone rings. I always keep my phone’s volume on vibrate or silent – when it rings out loud on full volume I am almost always shocked and don’t notice it right away or I’ll let it ring. When I get a text message, if I am not engaged in an instant conversation via text already, it can take me up to two days to reply because I simply just don’t want to “talk” to people. I am not anti-social, I just like silence. I like silence so much that water cannot be dripping from a faucet or I will hear it, I don’t own any clocks, especially wall clocks because I do not like the ticking and I can hear it so clear. My dislike for noise made me think I was crazy until I realized that the older the I have gotten, the more noise I recognize; unnecessary noise. As a kid the only noise was that of my instant surroundings, now it’s everyone else’s instant surrounding such as their iPods and phone conversations, etc – privacy is but an antiquated notion now.
I want to keep my cell phone off – I don’t want to have a phone number in my pocket that people can reach me from but I have a child and instant communication with him is a must or so I think it is. My mother could not reach me until curfew and now it seems impossible to do the same with my child.
This year begins so sweet for me. I am not in communication with friends I was close to last year and years beyond last and at some point I felt saddened by that until I recognized that their noise is no longer my noise. I don’t HAVE to listen to their sounds anymore and that felt good. Out of 154 contacts in my phone, I only speak to – in lengthy conversation via phone – 4 people not including my sister or child and maybe 10 are family with the rest being all business or not-so-often friends. I erased numbers out of my phones of people I used to talk to and nothing happened. . .I don’t miss them, I wouldn’t call them so why take up the space.
I am trying to figure out a way to go without a phone until absolutely needed. . .social media is already enough noise – which that too needs to be cut but -sadly to say- I actually enjoy interacting with strangers online than I do the humans in my reach. That’s because with a stranger, their noise is always new – especially on twitter – it’s new noise every 140 characters and I enjoy that newness; it’s not forced upon me, I can take it in at my own will and turn it off when I want.
I wonder, does anyone else feel the same? Are you smothered with technology? Smothered by people? Do you feel that communication is forced with technology? Do you feel that privacy is outdated? What’s ironic to me is that, there isn’t any one in my contact list that I can have this conversation with so as much as I find technology to be noise – in order to get a response to how I and others feel, I have to use the very thing I am discontent with because I know no human who can – in person- share this frame of thought with me. HOW SO NOW of us.