I recently, fairly impressively, broke my Nexus 4 smartphone. Not only was the back shattered, but the power button started to play up, and then the phone wouldn’t even turn on. It was knackered.
I dropped it in at my local high street phone shop: you know the type, since they are all exactly the same: staffed entirely by middle eastern guys in their 20s, who have little to no interest in customer service.
You will start talking to the chap behind the counter, then his phone will go off, and he will spend 10 minutes talking intently to someone else in Arabic whilst staring directly into your eyes.
Anyway, I spent around 6 weeks waiting for my phone to be repaired, and it was an interesting experience. Akin to the experience of other broken-phoned-geeks, after several years now of the “always on”, super connected lifestyle, it was refreshing to be free.
It also kind of sucked.
Things I enjoyed:
- Spending time with my children, rather than in their presence but with my attention on a stupid phone.
- Having to ask strangers for directions, and attempting to memorise maps.
- Being forced to let my brain sit, relax and do nothing.
- Not mindlessly checking the Verge, Engadget, Lifehacker, Reddit and BBC News 27 times an hour.
Things I missed:
- Rather obviously, being able to call and text people whilst, well, mobile.
- Having everyone’s numbers – my wife, my brother, my colleague, that guy I met at the football…
- In discussion with people, being able to instantly look up how much the holiday will cost/what films are on tonight/where we are.
- Having music always available, and having a library of ebooks to read in my pocket at all times.
- Being able to track food and exercise with the minimum amount of effort – being healthy is an effort: anything that raises the bar is not welcome.
- Texting off my computer – MightyText must save me 3-5 minutes almost every day!
So, whilst I’m very happy to have my phone back, and I’m not tempted to go back to a ‘dumb’ phone, I hope that I will move on with a healthier relationship to my technology, and to my family.