Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sans Phone



WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT FOR SMART PHONE USERS

I have been without a mobile phone, more or less, for more than a month. And, I must secretly admit, I kinda like it.

As with many of my friends who may read this, I have long been addicted to connectivity. In almost any spare moment, I would check email. And if there was nothing new, check Facebook. Or a web news site. When in a restaurant, rather than be impolite and ignore my fellow diners to read a little screen at the table, I would find a convenient time to head for the men's room and linger long enough to get updated.

However, my US T-Mobile phone does not work in Europe. As I was assured by the salesperson at Best Buy in Frisco TX that it would. The bands are not compatible - a little matter of about 50 MHz one way or the other.

Okay, simple, purchase a smart phone here through a European provider. Minor problem. They want a utility bill with my name and a local address as proof that I really live here. Takes awhile for that first electricity invoice to show up in la poste.

I should have a new smart phone in, oh, a week or so, maybe longer. Who can say?

And when I really needed to be in touch, for example at the EBACE show, my fiancee loaned me her mobile.

Meantime, it's been somewhat pleasant being without a phone. I've been reading a lot more in those spare moments. Observing the scenery flashing by on the train instead of worrying about the strength of the WiFi connection. Not hearing little buzzes, beeps and customised rings every few seconds. My hip hasn't been twitching from phantom calls. I'm not frustrated that the mobile holder won't stay clipped to my belt, nor that the clip is fraying and about to fall apart.

Of course, I'm still connected to those I need to be connected with. Landline and WiFi at home. WiFi at the neighborhood restaurant if need be, and other places as well.

And I'm sure some old habits will try to return when I finally do get a new mobile here.

But being 'off the grid' has its advantages at times.

My best friend, Dave, is a counselor. Listens to people's problems all day long. Years back when cell phones were beginning to become widespread, he refused to carry one. He said when he wanted to go off and get a cup of coffee, he didn't want to be reached. He wanted, needed, some alone time.

It's Sunday morning ... and there's a good book waiting for me.

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