What? Maybe a decade after everyone else? I finally broke down and bought a smartphone. I’ve been using a flip phone all this time and had been quite happy with it. It seemed quite a marvel after that original bulky cell in the canvas bag that reminded me of an old army field phone.
Heck, I even remember when cell phones were only car phones. My wife switched jobs and went to work for a cell carrier and we got a car phone installed as a perk.
When I was 46 I had to find a new line of work and went into trucking. And can you believe it? We did not use cell phones then. My work as an over-the-road trucker depends upon communication. We used to have to find a phone booth to make check calls morning and night and to get our dispatches and other info. But during the time frame I began in the business cell phones were making their appearance.
I first found the advantage of them when I needed a load on the East Coast to get back to my home in the West Coast. I was team driving then and my partner and I had just unloaded and were ready to call in for a return load. We saw another driver from our company walking across the parking lot.
“He’s going to get a dispatch before us” was the reaction of both of us (and there might not be any other loads that day).
But I had a cell phone (thanks to my wife).
“Watch this”, I said.
I called in and got the load. And my recollection is there were no other loads that day. It’s dog eat dog out there folks.
It was not so long after that when cell phones took over and you couldn’t find a phone booth or a working one if your life depended upon it.
All that was like two decades ago. What I have a hard time wrapping my mind around is what we did when we broke down, flat tire or mechanical troubles. Old-time truckers know. They changed their own tires — an inside dual being problematic. They helped each other. They used the CB radio (I quit using that years ago, as did so many others– mostly profanity and idiots on it — but too bad because instant como between truckers on the road can be helpful).
But did I really need the smartphone? That is a question I have the day after. I’m on a hiatus from work right now. Good thing. I need time to figure the thing out. I made my first outbound call successfully but the first time I got an incoming, would you believe it? I could not answer it.
I got two brochures with it. One was a supposed set of directions. Pretty sparse, to say the least. I found, however, that a lot of the directions are on the internet (which besides my phone, I can of course access on my laptop and my tablet — yeah I have those too).
If they didn’t live so far away I could just ask my grandkids.
The second brochure seemed to be about health risks. It was really thick. I ignored it (I mean I pushed it to the back of my ever-eroding mind).
Probably Democrat-communist-climatechange freak propaganda. I WAS JUST BEING SARCASTIC THERE.
And like I alluded to up front, I am still asking myself why? Why did I need a smartphone?
I could list several reasons and I think they are legitimate. But that little flip phone was such a friend and so simple and so convenient and unobtrusive but there when I needed it. And what did I need it for? To make calls.
I have a laptop and a tablet to do the rest and am quite comfortable with them, even if I do often carry around what I call my “electronic backpack” with them and all the different charge cords and plug-in adapters (like they couldn’t just make it all universal?).
However, in this modern world I have run into some limitations with my flip phone. People now always want to send me apps to make it easier to do various things. Sometimes it almost seems a requirement. I could not make use of most of that with my flip phone. Also, of course, the smartphone combines a lot of functions so one does not have to carry around a laptop and/or tablet, and even camera everywhere.
(I do like to use a real camera, though, to record parts of my vacation. Cell phone cameras are top of the line now but still you can’t get it all with them as opposed to the actual thing that is just a camera.)
And now there are Uber and Lyft, and other ride-hailing services. Have not used them yet but you need a smartphone for that.
A widower for many years now, I don’t have much of a social life. But please don’t ever let me be sitting at a restaurant with a friend or friends and be looking at my cell phone as opposed to enjoying their company.
So many people have written about this but I think seeing a man and woman or even a whole family sitting at a restaurant table all staring at the phones is the saddest and most depressing sight to see.
On a lighter note: I’m going to Spain again soon. I am no expert on their culture but I can tell you this: yes, they have cell phones, and you might witness a scene as I mentioned above — but that is not what I ever noticed there. I mean, yes, on the street they are just like here, especially in a big city, such as Madrid. But in a restaurant they talk to each other — and talk, sometimes for hours. They like the personal human contact.
What a concept.
Well I have to get back to learning my new smartphone: let’s see to answer a call there are many options (don’t answer), one is to swipe the screen from left to right…