Friday, February 15, 2013

The Corner of Technology Ave. and Life Blvd.

I don’t often think of myself as a super ‘techy’ person. Sure, I know slightly more than your average consumer. I can fix basic computer problems (including those eye-dee-ten-tee and PEBKAC errors...), I know how to perform basic phone hacks for a wider array of “options” and I can generally fix my TV, DVD player or gaming console without having to call for help. But that’s about it. I don’t generally live and die by my gadgets and, up until today, I assumed that they did not run my life.

That was until my phone died. Even with getting support and repairs from my local carrier stores, this translated into roughly 24 hours of no cell phone usage whatsoever. No biggie, right? Not so, my friends, not so. Below are the details of how my phone runs my life. 

  • Phone - The obvious one, I know. It's a phone. It's my only phone. I don't have a landline and I live alone, so there's no using my roommate's phone in an emergency.
  • Alarm - Not so obvious at first, but yes my phone is my alarm. And without it I was late to work. Ugh. 
  • Calendar - I'm not kidding when I say my life is on my phone. Appointments, birthdays, meetings, everything. All on the phone. 
  • Internet Access - It is my only way to access the internet from my home. As a rule, I don't have WiFi. I haven't had it for three years and so far it's worked just fine (but I can say that I'm actually considering it now). I can do pretty much anything from my cell phone and I've never felt the pressing need to get it and add another amount to my monthly bills.
  • Email - This one kind of falls under the heading of "Internet Access", but also deserves a spot of its own. I only ever access my personal email accounts from my phone. Until today, I couldn't remember the last time I logged in via a computer.
  • Coffee - This sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. My family and friends feed my coffee addiction by gifting me with Starbucks gift cards. And since I refuse to carry them all around, you have to know that I am a huge fan of the Starbucks app. I earn rewards and don't have to carry around nine different little pieces of plastic? WIN. This means that as soon as I add a card to the app, I usually toss the actual physical card. And without a phone, that means no free coffee.
  • Finance - I check my bank accounts from my phone; I track all my major accounts on my phone. Hell, I even have my checkbook on my phone. 
  • Social Media - This is a whole other kettle of fish, but it is worth mentioning. Not only do I have my own personal accounts, but I manage two blogs, three Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts, three fundraising sites, and a website. All of which I follow and keep track of on my cell phone. 
  • Friends - As a lot of my good friends from over the years have by necessity become long-distance friends, this one kind of speaks for itself. No phone, no conversations with friends, no witty text messages from friends, and no phone tag voicemails either.
  • Reading - I have never been a huge advocate of e-readers and there is nothing like an honest-to-goodness book, but I have to admit that I am using my Kindle for Android app more and more. I know, I know. Book traditionalists, please don't shoot me. But seriously... The books are cheaper and I love the portability. Plus, I can read my guilty-pleasure-fluffy-reading without judgement. "Why, of course, I'm reading T.S. Eliot on my cell phone. What do you think I am, a Philistine?" (Seriously though, if you're looking for a good, light zombie apocalypse novel, check out my review of The Newsflesh Trilogy --good stuff!)
  • Basic Safety - I don't live in a bad part of town, but as a woman living on my own in the city, I do like the security of knowing my phone is in my pocket if something happens. (And if my grandparents or parents see this, by "something" I mean twisting my ankle by stepping off a curb at a bad angle.)
  • Directions - I am not completely GPS reliant, but I do like having the option of looking up where I'm going before I head out (again, no internet access, so no printing off Google Maps directions for me).
  • Shopping - Don't roll your eyes. I mean it. I love online shopping. The ease of it, the affordability, the free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime.
  • Food Research - Going gluten-free is hard enough, but now with trying to go dairy-free, too, it means that eating out (or even going grocery shopping) can be an ordeal. And I usually need to do a fair amount of pre-meal and on-the-spot menu research.
  • Doorbell - Last, but definitely not least... my phone is my doorbell. Seriously. Our intercom system is such that I don't have a physical intercom unit in my apartment. It just rings straight to my cell phone. Which is awesome when it's actually working. Not so awesome when it's dead.
On top of all this, you do have the very real topic of personal social media. I know how it can have a bad reputation. I myself have written before wondering if it's lessening our relationships to snapshots, sound-bytes and pithy status updates. While I think that it deserves some curation, I can't help but think how less connected I would be without it. My friends, even my family, for the majority live out-of-town. I like knowing that I can share snippets of my life with them that they wouldn't otherwise see because they're so far away. Yes, I think Instagram could do without most of the pictures of people's meals (I'm a guilty party on that count), and yes, I think that people post and say really stupid things on Facebook and Twitter. But in most cases? The good outweighs the bad. 

And after I've said all this... I'd like to say thank goodness my phone is back and operational! And many, many thanks to the multiple customer service reps who helped fix my phones multiple problems. 
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