Imagine it. That little electronic friend that you keep close to you and knows all your private information is nonexistent. You’re living life without a cell phone. Gasp! What would life be like? Well, folks, there was a time not long ago that this was the reality. People figured out how to live and breathe without their trusty cell phone. So in honor of National Day of Unplugging on March 4 and 5, here are some truths about that time before the cell phone takeover.
The agony of memorizing numbers!
Oh, how lovely it is to simply plug in an address and in a
matter of seconds your journey is nicely mapped out with guided directions all
the way to your destination. Before cell phones came equipped with GPS, travelers
relied on paper maps that were usually really big and awkwardly folded. I don’t
know about you, but I could never manage to figure out how to fold the map in
the way it was when purchased. Map or not, if you got lost, you had to actually
stop, ask for directions, and write them down.
Precise meeting times
When making plans with friends and loved ones, you had better have been prompt because if you were running late there was no way to inform them. It was easy to appear as if you were standing someone up in those days, especially if you were someone who was typically punctual. You didn't want to let the one time you were late be when you’re meeting someone you fancy. It wouldn't have been a good first impression.
Blind dates were really blind
So you’re friends hooked you up on a blind date and the big night arrives. You get all dressed up and are smelling good and set out to meet who could quite possibly be your soul mate. But when you arrive at the meeting place you can’t find them. Better start asking around because you won’t have a trusty selfie to help guide you to their precise location.
People actually looked at and talked to one another
We’ve all done it. We've seen a group of our friends all in close proximity to one another and all of them are staring at their phones without uttering a word to each other, so you take a photo of it to laugh about it later. In reality, it’s a sad truth about the world we live in today. Our cell phones are an easy distraction away from everyday life, including those who are important to us. So it was sort of nice to think about a meal with friends when cell phones weren’t an option to draw their attention elsewhere. It was almost as if living in the present was more easily attainable before cell phones occupied our minds with what calls we missed or how many FB likes our last post garnered.
Books, newspapers, and magazines — oh my!
Before smartphones made news accessible at our fingertips, commuters using public transit were often spotted reading books, newspapers, and magazines. If often left the subway trains pretty messy for commuters who didn’t pick up after themselves and let the pages of the newspaper fall all over the floor. And while it was likely better for our eyes than staring at a small screen to read or watch our news, it was not better for the environment.
People stopped to smell the roses . . . well, kind of
Or at least to look at them while they walked by instead of having their face buried in a cell phone. While technological advances have offered nice conveniences, it’s also robbed us of basic human enjoyment like going for a walk without feeling the tug of having to check emails, pick up phone calls, or reply to social media reactions. It’s up to us to work each day to find a healthy balance so we don’t end up gazing at animated flowers in HD.