Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cell Phone Disengagement

"New" seems to be stopping me in my tracks an awful lot lately. I've went on and on (and on) about how I hate when I must adapt to the world of change. I would give anything for Wilma Flintstone's wardrobe. Same dress, day in and day out, with the odd perfect outfit to wear on a special occasion. I like finding something that works for me. And keeping it.

This applies to every little thing within my world, which (today) brings me to my cell phone.

I have a handy dandy little phone that does all I need it to do. It even does quite a few things I want it to do. As one year unfolded into the next, I discovered I really didn't need to carry anything else with me if I had my phone. I could forward our home phone calls to my cell, I could send and receive texts and emails, I could take pictures, I could take notes, check the calendar, set a reminder, record a little anecdote if I didn't have time to write and the kids could even watch a movie on it if they were the last one at daycare, waiting the long wait for their parent to arrive.

Then I dropped it in the toilet. After a sufficient amount of drying time, it could still do all of the above but the ability to download my pictures onto the computer was thwarted when the computer didn't recognize when the phone's USB was connected.

It took a while but eventually I realized I could email the pictures on my phone to myself. It was a bit of a time consuming work around, but if it meant I didn't have to carry around my camera, that was of little concern to me.

My email program on my phone stops working from time to time. The only solution I found was deleting and reinstalling the program. I have done this many times. The last time I did it, it didn't work. I had to call the "help line" at my internet provider and they found yet another solution that worked. Except for one thing. It wouldn't let me email pictures to myself any more.

I accepted my fate and just started using the camera. Easy compromise since it isn't summer and we aren't gadding about outside with the "inconvenience" of carrying around two purely frivolous gadgets (as I wrote that sentence it dawned on me how trivial this problem really is).

Anyway ...

I was just hitting the place where I was starting to think about getting a new phone. I researched the idea a little bit, convinced myself that maybe I should and then my son told me just to hold off getting a phone because he may be getting a new one and I could have his. Done.

That was a few months ago. Last week, I dropped my phone and unbeknownst to me the battery had fallen out and skidded across the room. I replaced the back cover and proceeded to charge it. I tried turning on the phone to see how the charge was progressing and nothing. Absolutely nothing. I tried turning on the phone several times. Nothing. Oh no! Now I really did need a new phone.

Then it dawned on me to check to see if I had secured the back cover correctly. That is when I realized the battery wasn't even in there. I probably should have unplugged the phone then plugged it back in after the battery was in place. But I didn't. Suddenly there was a brand new prompt telling me the computer was installing new hardware. The computer now recognizes when the phone is plugged into the computer and I can now download pictures again. It was a miracle!!

My need for a new phone vanished in that instant. Two days later, my son dropped off his old phone. What a conundrum. I didn't need a new phone any more but I had one. Something new and foreign to me.

I looked at the phone and shut down. "I don't do new!" were the words inside my head. I don't want to mess with what works. After two and a half years, I finally feel like I have figured out most of the features on my phone. Why would I want to mess with that??

I ignored the phone for two days. "I don't need you" I told it (yes, I talk to inanimate objects as well as my cats. It is a lonely life over here in my neck of the woods).

Then I picked it up. "I will just start adding my contacts ..." and see how it goes. Well, I ended up playing with that little gadget until I had it looking and acting like the phone I know well. I took what I knew about my phone, added it to what I have discovered about using the iPad, combined the two and voila! I do believe I have the ability to learn how to use this snazzy little gadget.

I finished adding all my contacts yesterday and in the process, I learned a thing or two about using the keyboard. I still much prefer my slide out keypad with actual "keys" but after two days of playing around with the keyboard while adding my contact list, I think I can make this work.

It feels good to learn something new. Or in my case, turn something new into something I am used to working with so it feels old and familiar. I'm just about ready to make the switch official. I am going to miss my trusty little cell phone. It has taught me many things, Unfortunately, I feel like it has taught me how to manage without much face-to-face contact with the world around me.

Maybe I should toss both phones into the toilet and try to manage life without them. I think the world would look far brighter without a cell phone in the palm of my hand. Maybe I should just "lose" it within the house from time to time. The ability to be and stay "connected" at all times is draining me.

As I added all of my contacts into my new phone, I realized I have stopped contacting most of the people on that list. I miss those days. The days where I was courageous and felt interesting enough to write an email and send it off to a friend, looking forward to their response and a "virtual visit". We have evolved from face-to-face contact to long distance plans to email to texting. Texts seem to be the preferred method of communication these days. Brief and to the point. You can send/receive them without a WiFi connection. It's better than nothing. But I miss "conversation".

It is time to look up from my phone and engage with real, live, adult people again. I feel like I've been here before. I have. It was during my days of feeling fearful. These gadgets have helped me disengage again. I don't think I'm alone.

Look up from your phone today and engage with the people you see. If your day is a quiet day at home, try to find some way to feel engaged. Pick up the phone, send an email, maybe even send a text to invite adult interaction into your day. "Engage" in whatever way you can. I am talking to myself now. I have let myself become too closed off. It isn't a good thing.

I spent six years "engaging" with my dad's family as we assembled their family's memories. Then I continued to stay engaged as we planned a reunion or two. Family emergencies invited more need for engagement. Through the good, the bad and the ugly I felt like a vital part of my little world. Then it stopped. I need to restart it some way.

It is time to start inviting people back into my world. Easy to say, harder to do. But if I can figure out how to navigate a brand new cell phone, I can do anything! Right?

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