Phone Alone

So the Oreo update came to Androids, including mine, which also turns out to have had a faulty battery. If you’ve got a Nexus 5X from what I’ve read there’s no way to predict if yours is affected. LG has elongated the warranty to 18 months, from 12, to catch anyone- so I’d test it just in case. I got the fault simply from trying to restart my phone- then trying to restart in Safe Mode.

Phone Alone- Seven days with no phone, how did I survive? Ok I guess.

Before we begin I’m not looking to prove a point. This social experiment came about rather violently- there was at more than one occasion tears. The thing is I’ve had a mobile phone with me for more than half my life. I think I got my first one when I was 11 or 12. The good old brick, Nokia 3310. Now I’m without one- for possibly some time.

So my week phone alone…

Day 1- Saturday & Oktoberfest

I had to admit I was panicking when my phone didn’t restart.

Belov’d and I had a busy morning ahead of us, and the phone was a useful tool. Our task management, Trello of course, along with directions and copies of emails were easily accessible. Well, they were.

After realising that it was screwed I relented to pen and paper. Belov’d made a checklist and we headed out after checking information before leaving. Yeah, Belov’d’s phone is what he gleefully describes as “dumb”. He took great pleasure from pointing out my dependence on my smartphone for most of the morning.

We did manage to get most, not all, of what we wanted completing. Not that having my phone working would have helped.

The real issue was the afternoon and evening. My department at work was having a night out. We were going to the local variation of Oktoberfest. In a part of the city, I didn’t know. In the evening.

Having not written down directions in over five years I was rather worried that I would get lost. I had double checked what the pathway would be before I left. The other problem, for me specifically, is that my dyslexia affects how well I tell my left from my right. So I was highly suspicious that I had given myself the wrong directions- but just not realised it. Thankfully retro directions got me there without bother.

The next hurdle was getting in. In the day of the smartphone, printing tickets is old hat. I had arrived early in the hopes of catching my colleague who had organised it. After waiting for ten minutes after the agreed time I got bored. I blagged my way in, also getting a free drink.

Assuming they were in, but not having a way of confirming it, I picked up my first beer to amble about. It took half an hour and the initial party- who I had waited for- arrived triumphantly.

Then came the drinking!

One thing I did notice was how true it was when people say that smartphone users “don’t live in the moment”. Having left my phone at home I did not have the urge to use it. Unlike my fellows, I wasn’t checking it every few minutes and adding to my social media. The lulls in the conversation for me weren’t plugged by a “quick glance” at Facebook. On multiple occasions, I was the only person not looking at a phone.

The big issue was going home. Being Oktoberfest I did down my fair share of booze. I was pretty drunk. With no phone to check for buses, or torch to make sure my walk back to the bus stop, a friend offered to get a taxi for me.

The next hurdle was that as soon as you leave you can’t return- even when putting a very drunk friend into a taxi. My friend after finding this out, called the driver to give him a description of me, my name, and the instruction that I would be yelling his name at the entrance. For ten minutes I stood outside the busy exit shouting “KINGSLEY” and looking for Toyotas.

Kingsley didn’t turn up.

As I had already blagged my way in once I thought I could do it again. No. The security guy told me point blank he couldn’t do that. Upon hearing me a friendly fellow drunk girl offered to show me the way into the city centre. Turns out she, and her friends, weren’t going into town but the outskirts. When we got to a good point she stopped the conversation we were having- apologised- and suggested I find a taxi to go the rest of there.

Rather drunk. Rather lost. Rather emotional. I stood in a dark part of the city I vaguely recognised. My first instinct was to grab my phone- work out where I was. Drunkenly I clutched at my handbag to only remember that my phone was at home- dead.

I took the drunk girl’s advice, seeing two taxis coming towards me I hailed the first. I explained I was drunk, didn’t know where I was but I had a card and- no he drove off. He drove off knowing I was lost, alone and inebriated.

Thankfully the second one I hailed was a bit kinder. He made sure I still remembered my PIN, and said we’d stop at an ATM. Polite taxi conversation and a quick stop at an ATM I was home to my Belov’d.

That night could have been a hell of a lot worse- but it could have been better.

Phone Alone excerpt reads "The biggest, and notable, is that I miss the security. It was scary on Saturday."

Day 2- Sunday & It Begins

The biggest annoyance is not having easy internet access. Having to boot up the PC, or download the applicable app to the tablet.

Another thing is not being able to post the Buffered Instagram photos when I wanted to. I don’t particularly want to cart the tablet around to post them- in the hopes I have internet connection at the time.

The phone also acted as our alarm clock and bedside lamp- so I’ve had to set that up on my tablet. Though the bedside lamp doesn’t quite work out.

Baking has also been annoying. I wanted to tweak a recipe but wanted to make sure I was using ingredients in proportion. Having to do it on paper as there was no phone was painful- Belov’d had to help. Lastly, as I took the second batch out of the oven I was thinking “The glaze looks amazing and the shaping, too!” and my first thought was to share it online. But with what camera?

Day 3- Monday & Ophelia

As you may already be aware Ophelia hit Ireland on Monday.

Annoyingly if my phone was working I would have been spared €15. People had messaged me on Facebook before I left that work was closed. As I wanted to conserve battery power on my devices those had remained off and in flight mode.

Belov’d had decided to walk in- he’s a hiker at heart. I on the other hand after a quick (like three minute) check to see what status the buses were in headed out. According to the page, the only buses that were cancelled were school and over land.

I sat at the bus stop for some time, no phone and my watch at home, I had no idea of time. Suddenly a car pulled up, and the driver yelled: “Ain’t no buses today, love!”. Great.

First instinct, Google map the nearest taxi company. Well- no I couldn’t do that now could I? Instead, I headed towards where I knew there was a taxi office. Having found one I managed to grab a taxi to work- for the princely sum of €15.

As we drove along I saw Belov’d, and had the driver stop to get out so I could walk with him. Together we finished the rest of the way to work. He did mention that he texted me to say he past the Lee (the river in the middle of the city) that it wasn’t as high as expected. Twenty minutes after he realised I’d not get it.

Anyway, we debagged he went off to his desk and I down to the canteen/restaurant/theatre of food for breakfast. I hadn’t even finished my porridge when I saw Belov’d strolling in. They’d decided to close up and send everyone home.

We were bundled into cars with people living nearby and head home.

When we got there I realised I hadn’t told my family that I’d be fine. Or that there was even an “ex-hurricane” on it’s way to my city. I spent twenty minutes fighting with my tablet to get Facebook to work and post that we were home and fine.

I miss my phone so much today.

Below is a lovely image to give you an idea of how big the storm was- you can see the outline of Ireland under it. Cork is on the South East coast, the biggest natural harbour- so a great target for Ophelia!

At roughly 13:20 today. We’ve had power and wifi for the majority of it (so far). To be honest I’m not expecting it to stay for the rest of the day!

Now it’s 17:35 we’ve had electricity and internet the whole time- so we’ve been pretty lucky!

Day 4- Tuesday & Work

Typically I listen to podcasts when I’m on my way to work. Today- not so much. The birds had resettled, or at least found their voices, after Ophelia.

The novelty of hearing everything around me soon wore off when I got onto the bus. Other people’s devices going off, the dull engine noises, and people loudly discussing how they sat in bed waiting for the storm to go away. I just tried to ignore it and play on my DS to at least pass the 40 minute bus ride.

My breaks at work were rather dull as well. As you know Euro Rather Nifty had been published- but I hadn’t a clue how well it was received. Or to publicise it myself other than the automated posts. I couldn’t even pin it up on my Twitter profile either. On top of that my watch has gone missing, so with no phone or watch I haven’t a clue what the time is.

Other pains came when I got home. No phone to check recipe methods, or time foods- thankfully I know how to make tuna pasta bake with my eyes closed these days. When it came to checking my bank account I was at a loss. I had set myself up with mobile banking- which turns out not to have the same login criteria as online banking. Borrowing Belov’d’s phone I tried the customer service- but after 8pm you can’t do much apart from the emergency things.

Also, the alarm system on my tablet (which we had used as an impromptu alarm) is not nearly loud enough for Belov’d. We’ve enlisted his phone to wake us up. The phone that struggles with sending and receiving text messages. Turns out (after checking the next morning) that it was in the settings- now it works as well as an alarm clock can.

On the bright side LG has responded to one of my messages. So I may be getting somewhere soon!

Phone Alone excerpt, reads "This social experiment came about rather violently- there was at more than one occasion tears."

Day 5- Wednesday & Traffic

Like the past two days the common annoyance was lack of in-bus entertainment. I’m really missing my podcasts. Today was different. There was horrific traffic. My usual commute home of about fifty minutes turned into one and a half hours. This included me getting off at an early stop to walk the rest of the way.

The problem is I had nothing to communicate that to Belov’d with. He was just left waiting and wondering what had happened. We agreed that evening I’d get a cheapy ‘do for now’ kind of phone. Once I had a smartphone again we could simply use it as a back up.

When I finally got to see my emails I saw that LG had responded back to my information. Turns out that even though they direct people from Ireland to the same form as those in the UK- they don’t actually handle the repairs/replacements from here. So I now I have to call some other company do it for me- and of course, it’s a 9-5 Monday – Friday phone line.

A company based in the UK handles their Irish repairs.

FFS.

Day 6- Thursday & Phone Calls

During the day the same issues persisted. In the evening a more irritating one happened. We needed to call our electricity and gas suppliers to get Belov’d’s name on the bill. But his phone is so tinny, and the speaker doesn’t work very well, it just felt more arduous than needs be.

Day 7- Friday & Waiting

Again there was another hour and a half commute home. I would have been home sooner if I had walked- and this time it wasn’t raining (but rather wet).

I was one day closer- I hope- to having a phone again!

Takeaways

I’m not going to deny that I miss it for the conveniences. I miss being able to make a shopping list that is with me always- rather than lost to the bottom of my handbag. I miss being able to listen to something so my commute is more enjoyable. I miss the option of looking things up on the fly.

The biggest, and notable, is that I miss the security.

It was scary on Saturday. It was worrying that on Monday that we didn’t have a smart device just in case.

Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while longer before I can get it sorted due to- annoying- not having a phone. As I’m not sure when, or if, my phone will get repaired I’ve purchased a the same ‘dump’ phone as Belov’d. It can’t connect to the internet, nor does it even have proper games (not even snake), but at least there’s an FM radio in there.

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