May 04, 2015 - 9:20 AM
“I’ll message you when I’m out front so you can let me in,” was the last message I received from a girlfriend before the battery of my phone died.
I knew it was dying before I had even left home, but I so strongly believed that 26 per cent would get me from A to B that I didn’t bother sending a warning or making a back up plan. I just said, “let me know when you get here!” and then checked Instagram and turned on my pedometer — a sure fire way to drain any iPhone battery in record time and also get depressed about just how many steps 10,000 actually is.
People like me are the reason cell phones are being blamed for making us a passive, recluse, slightly clueless generation. Where is our common sense? Where are our life smarts? Why can’t we commit to anything more than 15 minutes away?
I understand the novel notion that in the olden days people had to make plans and stick with them because there was no way to let someone know if you weren’t going to show up. If you were stood up in 1956, you had to assume — for there was no other norm — that you were either very disliked or now in the middle of a great tragedy.
In days since, it has been made all too easy for us to say sayonara to prior engagements and follow our tickled fancies to wherever they have been blown by the wind. To top it all off, we’ve convinced ourselves that wind-blown tickled-fancies are the most important commitments of all.
We can all agree that cell-phones have made us willy-nilly. It’s not even a point worth arguing any more. But cell phones — bless their microchips — are not only making us commitment-phobic. On a much more serious note, they’re making us completely incompetent.
There is a clever new movement by the paramedic community to start encouraging people to put ICE — that is, In Case of Emergency — numbers in their cell-phones. Instead of emergency responders scrolling through recent calls playing guessing games about who needs to first be contacted, they can search for “ICE” and know without a doubt that they are calling the right person.
This is a good use of technology.
I started thinking this week about the ICE movement and about the sense of security we get from having our cell phones on us, with full bars and fully charged. I was obviously traumatized when my phone died at the inopportune moment.
You see, I knew my girlfriend would be arriving shortly, but I had no way to explain where she was meeting me. I couldn’t explain how I was going to get the ticket to her, what entrance she had to use, where she would go once inside....
On a scale of one to infinity my anxiety surrounding the situation was at a maximum. I could not fathom how we were going to survive.
I eventually did find her — with a panic stricken look on her face, as her cell phone had died too. There the two of us were — safe, yet rattled to the core — in one piece, together at last and unable to Instagram.
It is all well and good to have an emergency contact number in your cell phone for the times when you might not be the one able to get help, but it’s important we know what to do In Case of Emergency without our cell phones as well.
If my little technology-free adventure was any indication, our cell phones have not only made us flakey, they’ve rendered us useless. If powering down our phones is what constitutes our emergency, we are in the middle of one very large crisis.
— Andria Parker is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops
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