A few days ago, my Gmail account on my phone would not synch. The next day I couldn’t even connect. And then Google Talk and Goggle+ stopped working. No connection to server. Yet Facebook, Twitter and the interwebs were working fine and dandy. Strange and stranger. So I did the only thing I could and did a factory reset. To no avail. No connectivity to Google servers whatsoever. So here I am, stranded without my apps, without my email, stranded on the desert island of no connection to the outside world.
Or am I really?
I was tremendously upset that my phone konked out on me. I’m only due for an upgrade in January. All my handy apps are now gone. No one can figure out what is wrong with my phone. I’m left with temperamental sms, calls and cumbersome browsing.
I felt that the world was ganging up against me for no reason. And then I laughed. I was making a mountain out of a molehill.
Rewind 2½ years ago. At the time all my phone could do was calls, sms and internet browsing. Before that even less. 14 years ago I was excited to get a brick when I started university. And before that I survived just fine with just a landline at home.
And then cellphones made their way into our everyday lives. Do you still remember how excited we were when the sms feature was launched? Then mms, internet connection, cameras, smartphones. All in the space of 14 years.
How quickly we get used to such convenience. How quickly we think we can’t live without our gadgets. How lost we feel without them. We have the world at our fingertips. We feel connected to the pulse of the world because a small piece of plastic and electronics gives us constant notifications of things happening around us (most of which are of no great importance or urgency). Had you asked me a few days ago what I would take with me on a desert island I would have chosen my phone (if there was connectivity on the island).
Having this technical incident has made take a step back and re-evaluate my relationship with my phone. Only being able to send sms and make calls is not a bad thing. It will be good to slow things down a bit. After all, we’ve survived 12 000 years without instant connections.
The only nuisance is that most of my numbers were are stored directly on Gmail, in case my phone broke or got stolen, then I would not lose my numbers. Well, I didn’t anticipate not having Google connectivity. I’m now stuck re-entering all the important numbers in manually. Serves me right not to have a backup.
It will be good to take this smartphone break. I therefore apologise to all those who will try to contact me via WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Google+. I’ll be checking those only once a day via my 3G card.
In January I will be upgrading to the longed for Samsung Galaxy S3. I find Samsung and Android a match made in heaven. I love the convenience BUT I will not let it take over my life. This reality check is far too important to sweep under the carpet and forget.