Saturday, October 01, 2011

Life and Smartphones

Michael Simkins, writing for the Telegraph, shares the story of his life after his Blackberry was stolen. Initially thinking it the end of the world, he started paying more attention to, well, life. A charming story, here's an excerpt.
For the next day or so, I was a living corpse. Eyes sunken and hollow, a perpetual sheen of sweat on my forehead, I didn’t dare leave the house in case someone was trying to get hold of me. Each time my wife used the timer on the microwave, I reflexively reached for my absent handset. The nadir came when I found myself having to use a public payphone. Once upon a time, I’m pretty sure I used these devices on a daily basis. Yet the example outside Baker Street station now seemed like something from Stalin’s Russia. Did we really ever rely on such medieval contraptions?

But it’s a funny thing. As one day melded miserably into another, something else began to fill the void. Life, I think it’s called. Freed from the tyranny of 24/7 availability, I found myself offering snatches of desultory conversation to my wife over breakfast. I had time to watch the goldfinches landing on our bird feeder; train journeys were spent looking out of the window and chit-chatting with fellow passengers (at least those not glued to their own BlackBerries). I even – if you can believe such an old-fashioned notion – read the newspaper. My ageing body also enjoyed the respite. Instead of sitting hunched at a perpetual 45 degrees, eyes squinting at the tiny screen while playing fatuous games or concocting equally fatuous bon mots to post on Twitter, I could sit back and give my spine a chance. As for my thumbs, they rediscovered what they were really put on this earth for – twiddling.

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