- The author recently spent some time without a cell phone after losing their company-provided smartphone.
- The good side of not having a cell phone was being unreachable and enjoying blissful silence.
- The author used Google Voice to still receive voicemails and send/receive text messages.
- The bad side of not having a cell phone was the expectation of being reachable at all times and the difficulty in coordinating things without one.
- Borrowing phones from friends or strangers was necessary when out and about without a cell phone.
For the past 10 years I have had a cell phone and for 5 of those years I had a smartphone. I recently switched jobs and my previous company paid for my smartphone. As a result, I lost my smartphone and decided to spend some time without one.
In many ways, the company paying for your cell phone reflects their desire for a 24-7 support channel. One previous company did this and it turns out managers have a short memory when it comes to those calls nights, weekends, and holidays.
I will start with the good side of not having a cell phone. I was unreachable. There weren’t any more calls from a significant other about where I was or a conversation about nothing. There was blissful silence. Maybe my new phone won’t work every so often to give me a break.
I used Google Voice for my main phone number. The time without a cell phone did not leave others without the ability to communicate with me. I could still receive any voicemails and send/receive text messages via the Google Voice website. Once I bought a new phone, it was as simple as setting up Google Voice and things were back to normal.
Now the bad side of not having a cell phone. Everyone expects you to have a cell phone and be reachable any time. Our culture has evolved into one expecting instantaneous and omnipresent communication. It was kind of difficult to explain that Google Voice still works without a cell phone. I received everyone’s messages and texts, just not immediately.
If you are out and about, you will find yourself having to borrow phones from friends. There are no pay phones anymore. Without a nearby friend, you are left with the choice of asking a stranger to use their phone.
Coordinating things is incredibly difficult without a cell phone. I had to take my car to a mechanic and get a ride back to work. Without a cell phone, I had to use the mechanics’ phone, which confused my ride.
I missed the smartphone apps most of all. How can I find someplace to eat without Yelp? I might have to go to restaurant with terrible food. Have a question about something? I would look it up on the Internet on smartphone.
Like all of our modern conveniences, cell phones come at price. It comes at the expense of some of our privacy and sanity. It gives us back loads of convenience and information.