I’m halfway in to work this morning, and realize I left my cell phone (or as they are now called–“smart” phones) on the charger in the living room. Panic. Oh, no, I don’t have my phone. I actually looked at my watch and tried to figure if I had enough time to turn around and go get it. By the way, I didn’t.
Here’s the thing–I RARELY ever get calls on my phone. Very few people have the number, and everyone who knows me knows that I often don’t even bother answering it, and never when I’m driving. I don’t even answer my home phone. That’s what voice mail is for. If I recognize a number and know the number, I’ll take the call, otherwise, talk to the machine.
So, I don’t get a lot of calls, and, while I’m at work, I keep the phone turned off, to avoid the possibility (however slight) of a phone ringing while I’m on the air. So why am I in such a panic about not having it with me? I remember (in the olden days) driving cross country with my wife and young son in an old car with just about every square inch of space packed with personal belongings, including a luggage rack with suitcases and boxes tied down and tarpped over. East coast to West coast (Navy days) with no cell phone. Somehow we muddled through. Now, the thought of leaving the house without the stupid thing gets me nervous. I know I’m not alone in this.
What has happened to us? We have become slaves of our technology. Over the years, through clever (and often very entertaining) marketing strategies, we have been convinced that not only can we not live without these innovations, but that having them actually makes us better people. I cite the one “smartphone” ad that says, “don’t upgrade your phone–upgrade yourself.” That’s a bit sinister, don’t you think? The commercial (I’m sure you’ve seen it) shows a man in a chair with a cell phone connected to his body. Actually, it’s not sinister–it’s kind of scary. Do I sound paranoid? Maybe it’s because I am. We (humanity) have gone from making tools to fill a need to adjusting our lifestyles to meet the demands of our technology. Shouldn’t we be telling IT what to do, and not the other way around? Oh, I hear you–you think you’re in complete control. Right. Remember that, next time you leave the house and realize you’re not “connected.”