My trusty smartphone was recently murdered by a cheap phone charger, so I’ve been forced to use a brick phone with no internet for the past two weeks. It’s been a bit of a wake-up call.
Back to Basics
About two months ago, I bought a phone charger for a steal at €1.50. It worked fine, until one day two weeks ago when my phone began losing power while it was “charging”. Trying a different charger didn’t work either, and long story short, the charger caused a surge of power to go into my phone and fry the circuit board. So for the past two weeks, I have been using this:
This is a Caterpillar Cat B25. A ‘builder’s phone’ that my brother used while working on a construction site. It is designed to be durable and basic. And when I say basic, I mean basic. This phone has no internet, the camera is terrible, and it can’t open half the files on my SD card. It doesn’t even have Snake, for god’s sake.
Using this phone has been quite a jarring experience. We all know that we’re dependent on our smartphones, but I never really realised to what extent I relied on mine.
I love taking photos – of my dogs, my friends, and just things that are cute or interesting. Photos capture a moment, and it’s so frustrating having a moment slip by because your camera is a potato. Just yesterday my dog Gizmo was doing a blep while asleep on my couch, and I was so heartbroken I couldn’t get a decent shot of it. I used to have an HTC Desire 510 before I bought a decent smartphone. The 510 has a notoriously terrible camera, and being forced to return to that kind of quality makes me seethe.
Bye Bye, Spotify
You know what’s worse than those annoying Spotify ads on the free version? NOT HAVING SPOTIFY. Because the B25 doesn’t have internet, I can’t use Spotify. Spotify is a necessity for me. With no way to access any other music, I’ve been forced to rely on the tracks I have on my SD card, which has made me realise something: my taste in music was terrible, and I really need to update my library.
I have anxiety, and a good portion of that is social anxiety. When I’m in a situation that makes me feel particularly anxious, I use my phone as a distraction. Scrolling through Twitter or Facebook gives me something else to focus my attention on, and eases the feelings of anxiety. With the brick phone, there’s not really any way that staring at it can be of assistance.
No Answers on Demand
Simple things, such as looking up bus timetables or finding an answer to a sudden question you have, are impossible. Talking to your friends or finding out the latest news has to wait. We have become so used to having the internet in the palm of our hand that when that convenience is taken away, we are genuinely at a loss.
How many times have you used IMDB solely to find out what ‘that guy’ is from because you swear you’ve seen him in something and you won’t be able to focus on the movie until you find out what he’s from? Now imagine having to watch the movie with that nagging itch the whole time.
Social (Media) Awareness
The most striking thing about having to use this phone is that is has made me realise just how much time I spent on my smartphone scrolling absent-mindedly through social media. I have deleted my Twitter account twice in the past for this very reason – I felt I was spending far too much time on the site. I know better than to fool myself into thinking a social media purge is in order, but I definitely need to limit my intake of the stuff.
Social media is great for keeping in touch with your friends and finding out about their day to day lives, and without those little interactions I find I do become lonely and feel like I’m missing out. However, it can also be a black hole for time and productivity, so my phone being electrocuted was probably a good wake-up call.
Dependence isn’t always bad
Older people love to say that us millenials are addicted to our phones and that we wouldn’t survive without them, and I guess in a way that’s kind of true. We use our phones to take pictures, listen to music, talk to our friends, keep up with goings on, and more. But there’s nothing wrong with any of those things separately, so why is an object that facilitates all of those a bad thing?
We’re all dependent on many things. The sun, water, food, electricity, our friends and family, money, society, politicians, farmers. We could survive without some of these, but we depend on them because 1) We’ve been brought up to, and 2) They make our lives better.
Dependence on something is only a problem when what you’re depending on it for is a problem. I see now that I was depending on my smartphone to get my fix of random, mildly funny tweets and posts that would be forgotten in the next hour. When I get a new phone, I won’t depend on it for that.
Thanks for reading!
Sean (With a Fada)