“Side Effects” of Cell Phones’ World Dominance

Once in a while I face reminders of how dependent I (and many others) have become on certain technology, especially cell phones. I had one such experience Monday evening. After work, I stopped by Walmart to pick up a few groceries. I went in and shopped with enthusiasm, throwing all kinds of goodies into my cart. When I collected all my credit card could handle, I checked out. After paying and putting my five or so bags in the cart, I went to grab for my keys.

They weren’t there.

I didn’t believe I could have locked them in my car. I thought, Maybe if I go outside to the car and try to open it, I will get in and everything will be fine. Of course, that was just wishful thinking. When I got to my car, I saw my keys, still in the ignition, and my cell phone sitting on the passenger seat. I had even left it open and I swear it gave an evil jeer as I pressed my nose up against the glass window, wishing the glass would melt away so I could get inside.

Then, sheer panic filled my chest. Oh my gosh, I have no cell phone and no keys to get in my car. I’m trapped at the Olean Walmart and I’m going to die. My life is over.

Of course, I was exaggerating the situation, but I still thought, what the heck am I going to do? I have no cell phone! And then I realized two “side effects” of cell phones’ world dominance.

  1. Pay phones no longer exist (or they’ve become completely invisible).
  2. Even if pay phones did exist, I don’t know anyone’s number by heart unless it’s someone I knew before I had my cell phone (i.e., my house, my grandma’s house, my boyfriend’s mother’s house). Who needs to memorize phone numbers when you can type a name in to your contact list and instantly dial the number?

I evaluated my situation and tried to decide what to do. I knew my boyfriend was headed to his mother’s for the night and thought he might be there by now. I figured I could ask Walmart or some random stranger to use the phone. I’d call him and he could call one of my roommates who would hopefully be able to bring me my spare key to the car. The kind folks at Woodforest Bank in Walmart let me use their phone. As I explained my situation to the employee there, a woman passing by heard my situation and suggested I call AAA, which I would have done if it came down to it. In fact, I think she was very close to letting me use her account if I hadn’t told her that I already had one. That made me feel a little better about the situation, even though I declined. When I did finally call my boyfriend’s mom’s house, he wasn’t home yet, but I had his mother call his cell phone and he then called my roommates. Whew!!!

Eventually it worked out, although it was a bit of a complicated situation. I got my spare key, my car and, most importantly, my cell phone. Looking back on that struggle makes me chuckle. I love that my desperate mind thought, maybe if I wish real hard my phone will slide out some how or the doors will magically unlock. Although it was certainly a pain-in-the-neck type of situation, I’ve learned a few things from the experience.

  1. Memorize certain important numbers (i.e., at least one roommate’s number would be a start) you might need in an emergency.
  2. Don’t be afraid to rely on the kindness of strangers.
  3. Always try to help a stranger who appears to be in need. You never know when you could make someone’s day, just by smiling at them and offering a suggestion when they seemed to be having a hard time.

What experiences or situations have you faced that made you understand how much we rely on cell phones today?

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kichigai/2503492575/sizes/m/in/photostream/


6 thoughts on ““Side Effects” of Cell Phones’ World Dominance

  1. Great post Ruthie! I can totally relate to your situation on the dependency of cell phones. Our generation definitely relies on them for almost anything, especially smart-phones. Sometimes when I have no clue where my cell phone is, I feel like I don’t exist. I feel I have no other means of communication besides my cell phone. Just the other day when my brother and I were driving back to Bonaventure, he dropped his phone under the passenger seat of our car and couldn’t grab it. Two to three minutes go by and my brother asks me to pull over on the side of the highway so he could get his phone. He said someone might have texted or called him. It’s hard to imagine life before cell phones!

    1. Yes! Totally understand. And I’m sure my life will revolve around my smartphone, too, as soon as I get it for Christmas! 🙂 Thanks for saving me in this situation – thank God I had Facebook chat when I got home without my cell phone, haha!

  2. You bring up some good points here. I’d argue that this applies to search engines as well as cell phones. Think about all the trivial information you no longer know by heart (because you know the answer is a quick “Google” away). I’d say the same is true with spelling: have your spelling skills decreased because of Microsoft Word’s little red underline functionality that comes up when you spell something wrong? I know mine have…

    1. Very good points. I especially love the Google one because I personally use it about 20 times a day, at least. I agree with the MS Word spell checker thing, too, although I don’t rely on that as much as Google. Many times when I’m not sure how to spell a word, I type a “resemblance” and then hope the correct version will come up as one of my choices!

  3. Probably once every other month I end up leaving my cell phone at home as I run off to work. The first thing I do is e-mail my fiance letting him know that “in case of an emergency” I don’t have my cell phone on me. Because my cell phone isn’t around I’ll feel slightly more stressed. I know, it sounds weird but having the cell phone offers that sense of security. (What did we ever do without them?) As to your first point about memorizing phone numbers, I’ve been thinking about that for years now, but guess what – I don’t do it. I’ve even heard of studies that have tested cell phone use on memory. If you think about it, when we were kids, it was really important for us to memorize emergency numbers. I even wonder if kids today know what 911 is.

    1. I know – I don’t do it either when I should. I might try writing a few numbers down and sticking them places, like my wallet, my car, etc. Maybe that will help me remember them or if I don’t hopefully I would have access to one of the number lists somewhere. And I know! I read or heard something the other day that someone was starting a thing where you could text 911. Seems weird to me, but maybe it will help the younger kids remember it if they can text it?

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