It’s interesting to be part of a generation born without phones as we know it now. I was born in 1980, the time that blurs between Generation X and Millennials. I’ve always viewed this GenX-Millennial identity as a privilege because I was part of a generation that witnessed the birth of the digital age. I grew up in a world of written letters and post offices. We did not have a landline phone until I was already in college. You rely a lot on your friends’ promise when you say you will meet, setting a place and time. I have a feeling many hearts were broken and love stories ended because one did not make it on time or got their meeting place wrong.
I was in college when e-mail was finally invented. No more waiting for weeks for a letter to arrive. In one click, you can send your letter and get a response that very same day. Internet was born and it’s like humans finally found a way to communicate with aliens. Only it’s still just us, humans able to communicate with each other faster, information more within reach and finally we have the power to understand our cultural differences. Looking at the present, we also know it also had the opposite effect and we allowed it to divide us more in some ways.
Not long after, Nokia gave us the gift of mobile phones. The world never looked back since then. We also know Nokia failed to look forward, an early and costly lesson for modern day technology companies. My first mobile phone was a Nokia3210, the first model that did not have that annoying antenna like the Nokia5110. Do you know what these are, Generation Z? Hahaha! I won’t explain in detail, just Google it. For those who can relate, do you still remember the high of being able to text or call your friends wherever, whenever? The only thing that can stop you was when you run out of load. A text was quite expensive then at 1 peso per message. A local call is charged 5 pesos per minute. The word unlimited was still dormant in the dictionary at that time.
What a great time that was! It was like the beginning of a sweet relationship, where everything was sunshine and rainbows. I went on my first tour with the UP Concert Chorus with an analog camera and called my family using phone cards. On my second tour, I had a mobile phone and still an analog camera. Right the next year, I had both a mobile phone and digital camera. We now know how fast innovation can be and now we can’t even keep up. Apple, Samsung and Huawei launch a new version of their phones every year. Sony, Fujifilm, Nikon and Panasonic changed the meaning of photography and now we even have DSLR and mirrorless cameras. The choices are endless so you always have to ask yourself why you would need a new phone or a new laptop.
My share of these precious marvels of technology include an iPhone 11 and an iPad 6th Gen. I have a laptop and another mobile phone but they are company property so they don’t count. Am I happy with my gadgets? Hell, yeah! My personal phone is my lifeline and my work phone is a buzzing nuisance. I guess I can still call my work phone a lifeline to my source of income. So, it’s still important.
However, let’s talk about my real lifeline. My phone is my non-human best friend. It knows everything about me, it’s scary. If you want to get to know someone these days, looking at what they have on their phones will tell you a lot. For example, I have about five pages of apps. The first page has all social media and video streaming on it – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Netflix and Spotify to highlight a few. Next would be for bills and banking apps, because adulting is required. My workout apps are on page four, kinda hard to get to. The rest are random and rarely used. Now you know what my priorities are.
Seriously though, I really think our phones are our lifeline these days. The pandemic has made it even more necessary to be connected since face time is very limited and risky. When we were sick before, we have to go to a clinic or hospital to see a doctor. Now, we can have an online consultation first and the next steps can be figured out depending on how serious the case is. I still would feel more comfortable seeing the doctor from the beginning, but we had to make these adjustments for our own safety. We can order food, pay our bills, watch movies and tv shows, keep our workout goals and even go to school with just our phones.
For someone who lives alone like me, my phone can be very valuable. It keeps me connected to my friends and family. It gives me peace of mind knowing I can talk to someone when I want or need to. What if I need help? I’m sure this phone will be instrumental to getting it.
Can you imagine yourself without your phone? I can. But I won’t. I like having it. It’s like my very own Lilliput, a whole world wrapped in a little box.
What if my phone becomes a buzzing nuisance? There’s always the silent mode. 😉