No Longer In Service

DSC00209I lost track of my cell phone last Friday morning and I haven’t seen it since.  I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I think I left it in the bathroom at the animal shelter when I was changing clothes after finishing my dog-walking shift.  But whatever happened, my phone didn’t come home with me and I didn’t realize it was missing until Friday night.

Naturally, I was panic-stricken.  That phone had all my contact numbers, my texts and a whole lot of pictures.  I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of havoc someone could wreak with a stolen cell phone, but I imagined all sorts of scenarios ranging from hacked emails to identity theft.  The fact that I had my cell protected by a pass code was a small comfort, but I figured a truly dedicated thief could crack that code eventually.

It didn’t help when I tried to call my service provider to report my phone stolen or missing only to have an automated voice tell me that my account password was incorrect. After three tries, the voice offered to reset my password and send it to my phone.  And while I’m sure whoever stole my phone would appreciate that very much, I personally didn’t think it was such a good idea.

Eventually I got a real live person on the phone and he graciously walked me through the process of turning off my old phone and ordering a new one which I could pick up on Saturday afternoon.  In the end, I was only without a cell phone for less than twenty-four hours, and I even got to keep my old phone number.

Looking back on the whole thing, I’m kind of embarrassed.  Not just because I managed to lose my phone in the exact same bathroom where I had dropped my previous cell phone in the toilet when it fell out of my coat pocket.  (Although I have sworn that I’m never going to use that particular bathroom again, since it seems to be very unlucky, cell phone-wise.)  What I was most embarrassed about was how worked up I got about losing a phone.

When cell phones first came out, I thought they were convenient for making calls while I was away from home, but I vowed that I would never be one of those people who are glued to their phone.  I remember rolling my eyes at a particularly pushy salesman who told me that my cell phone would become the most important thing I owned.  Yet here I was, a few years later, panicking just because my phone was gone.

Yes, it had my texts, my photos and my contacts on it, but I was able to recover most of those from back-ups.  And it was worrying to know that some out-of-town friends who were dropping by on Saturday morning might be trying to get in touch with me, but they also had the numbers of our home phone and my husband’s cell.  Ultimately, the only real problem I encountered by losing my phone (aside from having to pay for a new one) was the mild inconvenience of not being able to easily and constantly communicate with all my family and friends.

I’m almost sixty years old, which means I have spent more years of my life not having a cell phone than having one.  And yet I have obviously managed to become far too dependent on this particular device, and I find that a little disturbing.  Maybe I need to “misplace” my phone every now and then just to remind myself that I really can get along without it. . . at least for a little while.

72 thoughts on “No Longer In Service

  1. Interesting post and experience, Ann. Yes, how quickly we adapt to these technologies and conveniences. I’m a few years older than you, so also have lived most of my life without a cellphone. They sure are handy, and I do try and keep usage under control. I mostly don’t bring it upstairs with me at night, although I’ve been breaking that rule recently as I will sometimes listen to audiobooks as I go to sleep. I like your idea of taking enforced breaks just to remember how it is to be without that tether.
    First Saturday of every month, my phone will be lost. Now there’s a good message on your voice mail!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is a good idea! First Saturday of the month, no phone! It is amazing how quickly we become dependent on these devices, and I think that no matter how convenient they are, something precious is lost when we depend on them so completely. I guess it is a matter of balance. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is scary how quickly we become dependent on them, isn’t it? I find myself reaching for my phone whenever I’m bored, or worried I might have “missed out on something!” How did we ever live without them?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Many of use have developed an unhealthy attachment to our phones. For me, it’s texting… something I thought was stupid and that I would never use. Now, I pretty much hate to communicate any other way. I haven’t yet lost a phone, but it’s probably only a matter of time. My husband’s old flip phone is buried somewhere in the skeleton of our house; lost during our remodel years ago.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know, I text all the time now, especially with my kids! It’s easier than trying to call them when I’m not sure if they are busy or not. But you know, hearing their actual voices is so much better than a text, and an in-person visit is the best of all. I think it is a huge challenge to balance the pros and cons of this new technology, and we just haven’t mastered that yet!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I can relate to you, I lost my house keys and work keys few weeks ago. So the thoughts of thief and so on crossed my mind too. But most of the time, what bothered me was how could I do it? Anyway, I was lucky and found them in unexpected place few days later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Svet, you get exactly what I meant. I felt like such a moron for losing my phone. I usually am very careful to make sure I don’t leave the shelter without it, but last Friday was a very scattered morning without my usual routines, and I just spaced out. It bothered me so much that this whole thing could have been prevented!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This made my heart pound then giggle, I went a day without my phone last week. It fell out of my handbag and lucky I was at work and someone handed it in..

    But I was panic stricken, I even cried that I had lost all my pictures etc like they weren’t backed up on iCloud.

    It is silly when think about it!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you could relate! I was so panicked, and then when I really thought about it, I realized that it wasn’t that big of a deal. I back so me stuff up on the Cloud, and the rest on my computer. All in all, it was okay, and I really didn’t need to freak out so much!

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  5. Your last sentence means I’ll be sleeping with the lights on tonight (vicariously)! Kidding, but our cells are way more than phones, you know? They’ve replaced tablets, gaming systems, radios and music players, watches, cameras, video cameras, notepads, calendars, movie players, flashlights, calculators, maps, you name it, and can sync to everything else! Has anyone EVER used the stopwatch function, I wonder, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They really have become so many different things to us that maybe it’s not so odd we panic when they are gone. Still, I just don’t feel comfortable being so dependent on a device, and hope to wean myself off a bit. As for the stopwatch function, that’s a good question! Personally, I didn’t even know the phone had one of those….. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is amazing how much we rely on all the various devices. I always said I wouldn’t be that person with my nose in my phone or my tablet but (sigh) I have become one of them. I’m so glad you were able to shut off your old phone and get a new one quite quickly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, I turned into one of those people always staring at my phone, too! I do make a concentrated effort not to do it, but I’m not nearly as successful as I’d like to be. And thanks, I was glad I was able to get it all sorted out so quickly!

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  7. It really is amazing how attached we’ve all become to that little piece of technology. I left my house without mine last week, I was only running to the gym, but yet it almost paralyzed me. I ran through all the what if scenarios, the guy at the gym had to look up my gym I’d because I check in with the app on my phone…..it’s crazy!! But how do you get the monster back in the box?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It is very handy but also a burden to be so instantly connected to everyone everywhere. My mother is so much more addicted to social media than I am. She is on several listserv and chats and groups both public and private… I wish I didn’t have to be so plugged in but my work demands it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think for people who are otherwise isolated socially, social media can be a huge blessing. But for others, it can be a curse because it demands so much of our time. I guess the trick is learning to control our devices, rather than letting them control us? But that is so much easier said than done!

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  9. Yes, I so attached to my phone! I remember not owning one and then when I did get it, I only turned it on when I was out. My eyes rolled at others as well! Lol! Now it is my communication central, calendar, entertainment, gps, and general info finder. I like to think of this as adaptability. My only rule is I go offline when my husband and I go on vacation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a smart rule. When I first started my blog, I would spend an hour or two each day keeping up with it when we were on vacation. Then I realized how silly that was, and started putting an “I’ll be off the grid for a while” notice on my blog when we go on vacation. That works so much better, and gives us some quality time together! Thanks for the comment!

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  10. Oh Ann! I’m almost embarrassed to admit how devastating losing my phone for 24 hours would be to me… That darn thing is hardly away from me for more than 15 mins. unless I am sleeping….. Sadly…. How did we ever survive? – yet how I sort of long for those days. Ironically – I just said to my husband this evening, as I printed a recipe from my phone to a printer in another room in the house…. “how ordinary this is to do – yet 10 years ago we could never have imagined printing something from our “phone” without a wire to another room in the house!” These darn things are a blessing and a curse at the same time. Connected… disconnected…. I guess what we really need to learn is to balance it all in a healthy way…. I’ll keep trying! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I agree! They are a blessing and a curse at the same time! The trick is to learn to utilize the convenience, without letting them take over our whole lives. And when I figure out how that is done, I’ll let you know, because I’m still working on it. But what amazed me is how quickly I went into panic mode just because my phone was gone. I mean I’ve lived most of my life without one, and now losing my phone was worse than losing my purse. Strange times, indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I recently ran over my phone, it looked like it had taken enemy fire. I bought the iPhone when they came out 10 years ago, yes, stood in line for one, and I’ve had 5 or 6 since then. And I never bought the insurance for them and never needed it, until now. And guess what, I had bought the insurance because I use it for photos so it’s in my hands a lot! I forgot that I’d bought insurance but thankfully I had. So instead of the new iPhone 8+ or X, I have another brand new 7+, but thank goodness for that. By the way, I was never without because as destroyed as the screen was it still worked! LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you had insurance, as new phones can be expensive. My husband says his boss has lost his phone several times, but I feel embarrassed to have done it twice. I’m so sorry to hear you ran over yours, but glad you got a new one that you are happy with!

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  12. I think I’d have reacted exactly the same way Ann. It’s incredible how dependant we’ve become on our phones. Like you, a few years ago, I scoffed at people that couldn’t go anywhere without their phones yet now, I have to admit, I’m one of them. Maybe I need to lose my phone every now and again too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once I got over the panic…I’m not sure why I thought so many bad things could happen just because someone had my phone…it was actually a good experience because it made me realize how dependent I’ve become on my phone. I do love the convenience of having a cell phone, but I think I’m going to work on not counting on it quite so much, and even turning it off now and then. We all need a break some time! Thanks, Miram, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Ann, you’re so right. Time away from our phones can only be a good thing. To think years ago I used to drive three hours to and from Melbourne with no phone whatsoever. I never thought twice about it. Have a great week yourself. Spring has definitely sprung here which is nice. xo

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  13. When I was a boy, I stopped wearing a watch for a couple of years and the tan-line disappeared into the oneness of my skin. I found that time seemed to stop, or go slower. I was never telling myself to catch up with it, but Time was not battling against me neither was it on my side. Smart phones are smart, they take over our lives and persuade us that they are an absolute necessity.
    I am an Apple-convert which tells you something about the Neo-religious significance of our technological culture. Perhaps, I should hug a tree instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, whether we like PCs or Apples does seem to be as strong a statement as what our political or religious affiliations are, doesn’t it? And I agree, those phones are smart enough to rule our lives. Maybe I’ll hug a tree, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. How timely! I have finally made the leap to a smart phone – my dumb phone, a vintage flip phone from 2004 was starting to fail. I didn’t care if I replaced it or not, but hubby insisted that we each have one for emergencies.

    So, the search for a modern unit started at the basic “geriatric” model. Text and talk only.

    But then, lookie there! A smart phone with a different carrier, for half the monthly fees. One with obvious technological “perks” – all, you should excuse the expression, bells and whistles. I’m a sucker for a bargain. But as my dearly departed mom always used to say, “a bargain is not a bargain unless you need it.”

    But I need it, mom, I really do!

    Don’t I?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yeah, I remember telling the salesman “All I want is a phone I can uses to call people with.” And now I too have a fancy one with all the extras, some of which I don’t have a clue how to use….. Believe me, I can relate!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I love that you have a dog-walking shift and I think it’s funny that you lost two phones to that bathroom. I like your writing voice and the way you capture the panic and what-ifs. This is an easy read and speaks to those of us who didn’t grow up with the cell phone, who would like to think we can do find without it, and struggle with the need and the need NOT to need. than you Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words! And while I do plan to continue walking shelter dogs, I am SO done with that bathroom. They have others in back for just the staff and volunteers….. Thanks for the comment!

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  16. Sorry to hear you lost your phone but glad you got a new one. Sometimes it bothers me as to how attached we have all become to our phones and disconnected from other people. I constantly see people out together but most often they are on their phones. I try to distance myself from my phone from time to time, even though it is hard and I feel like I am going to have a panic attack.

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    • I think what keeps us so attached to our phones is how they have expanded to include text, email, photos, calendars, etc. I’m sure it was very intentional by the cell phone companies to make us feel that we can’t live without them. Now I’m getting all these notices of “free trials” of various apps, which I’m sure they’re going to start charging me for once the free trail wears out. So I’ll have to contact them again….

      Liked by 1 person

  17. The FCC just granted Google a temporary license to float an experimental high altitude balloon based cell phone system over Puerto Rico. The island has lacked service since the hurricane.

    So now they have coverage, How people will charge their phones is quite another matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point! Even if they have enough generators, my guess is they will be using them for more important things. Although if people are still unaware of the whereabouts of some of their loved ones, then I could see where restoring phone service would become very, very important.

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  18. Thing is, we call them phones but actually phoning is probably the least common thing I do on mine and I suspect I’m not alone. It’s my pocket computer! So I don’t feel bad about having it by me at all times and (reading earlier comments) I even use the stopwatch. Please don’t imagine me running or anything else sporty* – I occasionally give short presentations and need to know how long they last.
    * As if!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t need a stopwatch for my running activity either, because I never run! But you are right, what makes them so addictive is how much we use them for, and that makes it even harder when we lose them. Smart phones, indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Putting our phones on silent is a good idea! I never text or email while I’m walking along, and if someone calls me when I’m in a waiting room or in a store, I never take the call. But I need to go a step further and turn it off altogether now then!

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  19. I just lost my smart watch which is linked to my phone and I am LOST without it!! I still have my phone, and everything with my watch I can access from my phone but it seems I have developed a dependency on my watch too!!! UGH

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Growing up, we had a bright yellow phone attached to the wall of our kitchen. There was no such thing as voice mail, caller ID, and certainly not texting. Sometimes, I really miss that old phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ann, I like your idea of “misplacing” your phone every once in a while. I also also lived most of my life without a cell phone, and somehow survived those dark years! Glad to hear things worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Read this yesterday but no time to comment until today. I was never “attached” to my cell, but I do run a virtual business sans land-line so it’s pretty darned important. A gang mugging at my van left me bereft of everything in it at the time (including my datebook & contacts along with my purse, car keys, etc.), a painfully crushed hand, and no way to reach out for help.

    THEN, when I could finally replace the darned iPhone (which meant I had to find a ride to the Mac store since the bulky cast on my arm immobilizing my hand meant I couldn’t drive), the replacement worked less than a week before it wouldn’t charge the battery anymore. I finally got a reliably working phone on the fourth try – but zero contacts recoverable. Since it was my first smart phone – and brand new – I never developed the texting habit and don’t text to this day.

    Perhaps a message from the universe, because I haven’t been crazy about smart phones ever since. Except for trips I rarely take it with me anymore, leaving it plugged in next to my computer desk. I LOVE not being vulnerable to the whims of others when I’m otherwise occupied, and seldom having to hunt for where I left the darned thing. Highly advised.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry that you were mugged and lost all your things! I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. But good for you for not being addicted to your smart phone and managing just fine. There is a lesson there for the rest of us for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. It was a few years back, and I had to learn to live with what it did to my life and business, but I have moved beyond it in emotional ways.

        I’m not phone addicted NOW, btw. I seriously struggled to manage without a working phone by my side for several months. I’m not sure I would be able to leave it behind even now had I not done a lot of recovery work. But, from this side of the experience, it’s nice to say that hand held devices have been relegated to a place that makes sense to me: tools or conveniences – like my fridge or stove.

        I’m reminded of my freedom and higher level of functioning every time I pass a restaurant where most of the occupants are looking down, ignoring each other and their window view – every time a friend can’t be present from the second his cellphone dings or buzzes – every time his or her life stops for a text or a call.

        Knowing what I know now, I’m a real advocate for doing whatever you must to disconnect. It is SO worth it.
        xx,
        mgh

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        • That is so smart: thinking of our cells as tools and conveniences, and not as essentials! Like you, I can’t stand seeing people sitting across the table from each other, each staring at their phone. We need to be “present” in order to life fully, I think. Thanks for the comment!

          Liked by 1 person

  23. If it is any consolation at all for you, I repeat that old piece of wisdom: material things are replaceable, human beings are not. Unless you had confidential data, your bank account info etc. on your lost cell phone, it was nothing but an inconvenience. Many years ago I totalled my car on an icy road. When I had climbed out of the wreck without a scratch, I said thank God I am still alive and well. Others perhaps would have bemoaned the loss of the car. I am sure you are like me in this regard, dear Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, exactly! I don’t bank on my phone, or even have Facebook on it, and I don’t order things online from it either. So once I settled down, I realized all I had really lost was a phone. Even if I hadn’t have my contacts backed up, I would have been just fine. You are so right…all that matters is that we are alive and well.
      PS: So glad you survived the wreck on the icy road. It really does take something as tragic as that to make us get our priorities straight, doesn’t it? Take care, Peter!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. That’s a really interesting thought, Ann. Sometimes really annoying situations turn into positive outcomes. I have considered turning off my phones for periods a of time and then extending those times to include a day.
    I was a holdout on cell phones. I never wanted one but that was quite a few years ago. I love the convenience but I hate the dependency.
    You have me thinking now…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, George, as usual you are saying just what I am thinking. I love the convenience of my cell phone but truly hate how dependent I’ve become upon it. The enforced break I had from losing it (well okay, leaving it in a public bathroom where it was stolen) was a major wake-up call. I need to figure out a way to utilize the convenience without feeling as thought I am so darned dependent on it. And “losing” it for a few times a week is a start, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Wow! That’s a funny coincidence in a way – I didn’t loose my phone -luckily! – but find myself currently in the process of realizing how much I depend on it. That’s why I decided on not using it yesterday for the whole day, to prove that I still am able to get along without. I’m happy to tell that I made it! 😄 Sure, at first it was weird and although I’m actually not someone who’s glued to it all the time, my fingers were itching the first hour or so. But then it got better and at the end of the day I actually felt kind of relaxed, like I had been on holidays! I’m going to do this regularly now, spending at least one day of the week without my phone or the computer. 😄
    Oh, and I’m so glad that you could safe most of your data! But please try never to use that restroom again 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that restroom is off limits to me for sure! It has cost me too many cell phones (and money) already. LOL!
      And I think that your idea of a day each week without using our phones is a terrific one! When I was in Ireland last year, we didn’t pay to have my phone serviced over there, so was without cell phone completely. At first it felt very odd, as though I was missing something important, like my wedding ring. But as the week wore on, I not only got used to it, I actually liked it! I was certainly more in the moment. We could get important messages from email, and I took photos with an actual camera. And truly, aside from that, what did I need?

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