#Nophone day two: Why don’t I miss my phone more?

By | July 30th, 2012

For about two hours today, I didn’t have a phone. I didn’t miss it.

As you know, this is day two of our no-phone challenge. You can follow our progress on this blog and on Twitter using the #nophone hashtag.

Yesterday, we were supposed to go into withdrawals from lack of voice communications. We didn’t. Instead, we muddled through it and when we had to make a call, we fired up Skype.

In many respects, Skype was far superior than anything our cell phone company could offer, but at the same time, it was not quite perfect. The reason? Varying bandwidth speeds between cellular towers, probably. But who really knows?

So today I thought the withdrawals would start in earnest. I mean, it’s the first day of the workweek and people will be calling, right? Wrong, again.

Since we’re on assignment and since it’s the middle of the summer, the only pressing items that required a voice communication could either be postponed or could take place through Skype. One such call with a colleague is scheduled to happen later this week.

This afternoon, I went totally phoneless. I feel fine.

I was on a long-board in Pensacola Beach, Fla., where having a wireless device is impractical. The OtterBox case on my iPhone 4s is good but it’s not that good and a little salt water probably would have destroyed the smartphone.

It got me thinking …

If you take away the technology — the phone, the computer, the tablet PC — and focus on what the technology does, what’s really important? Is it hearing the other person? Is it seeing the person you’re speaking with? Or even the people that you’re speaking with?

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I think 20 years ago, before email was being widely used, the phone was the only affordable electronic option for communication, so we didn’t really have time to contemplate whether we might prefer to have a picture with the sound, or whether text would work better.

Today — now — we can have that discussion. What works best?

I think voice calls are highly overrated.

Once the oligopolistic grip of the bloated cell phone carriers has been loosened, and the bandwidth flows freely, we will be able to choose how we want to communicate, and I’m willing to bet “voice” will not be our top choice.

Video? Perhaps. Text? A strong contender.

So as I watch the sun set from my room here at the highrise Holiday Inn, with my cell phone quietly powered down, I think big changes are ahead for the way we communicate when we travel, and the changes will be good for everyone.

It will be nice to spend time on a train or bus and not have to hear the guy next to you shout loudly into his headset. That might still happen, but I’m willing to bet the person he’s yelling at will gently encourage him to send a text or email next time, or steer him to a video call on Skype, where body language will remind him that he’s yelling and that he’s being rude.

You know, I was walking through our neighborhood the day before I left, and saw someone doing just that — yelling into his cell phone. I heard the whole conversation. Every. Single. Word.

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It’s so annoying.


OK, on with the journey. Let’s see if we can do this one more day.

  • I definitely couldn’t live without my phone, no need to do a #nophone test for me!

  • y_p_w

    I remember doing a 4-day, 3-night backpack in Yosemite. I figured that even with cell towers in Yosemite Valley, the terrain wouldn’t allow for a line of sight to most of the places that I was going to visit, save maybe Half Dome or Clouds Rest.

    My first morning I woke up when a kid in the Boy Scout group next to my site was talking to his mother on his phone. That’s when I realized that the phone was likely to work.

    However, that same morning I did see a bear, and having my phone handy was good for reporting a bear sighting. They typically want reports to see what the activity is like, and whether or not they were interested in obtaining foods meant for human consumption. One of my neighbors said it went right through their campsite and basically ignored their bear canister.

  • Nica

    I barely turn on my phone in NY let alone anywhere else! I think I would pass this test with flying colors! :o)

    And yes, I have heard conversations from people who should not be having those particular conversations in public. Or my favorite – looking down and texting and walking at the same time. I purposely walk into them (I know, naughty!) and then they give me the dirty look! LOL

  • judyserienagy

    Constant conversations are just ridiculous, it’s like a fad. Apparently people prefer to yap on their cell phones instead of enjoying the moment .. are their lives so empty?
    I turn on my cell when I travel or am away from home/office most of the day. My friends will cal me FIVE TIMES before a lunch date, they have nothing to say, they just talk on their phones because … because …. I have no idea why. My siblings’ children and spouses call each other 80 times a day; rarely do they have a need to talk to their parent.
    Just make the date, set the time and place and MOVE ON. If you have something to say, by all means call … otherwise enjoy your surroundings and whatever you’re doing at the moment. I’ll be thrilled to see you at lunch but, really, I’m not thinking of you until then, I’m enjoying myself right now.

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