There was a time not so long ago when cellphones weren’t ubiquitous. It might be hard to imagine, but back then, people didn’t carry around what amounts to a highly powerful personal computer in their pocket. The inevitable race to embrace technology has made Americans relish anything that is new, but there were good things about the world before cellphones were absolutely everywhere. It was a nice, more anonymous time, a time before the era of the selfie.
Beyond their conveniences, having a cellphone all the time everywhere has made people more impatient and less friendly.
Today, we are totally unmoved by a phone going off. There was a time when getting a phone call actually meant something.
This was also before, perhaps, what has become the biggest irony of the cellphone age:
That phones have made phone calls a thing of the past.
People actually answered the phone because it meant something important was probably happening. Now people don’t even answer their phones because calls have become less important. Who even uses their phone to make calls anymore when text messages, instant messages, FaceTime and Skype exist?
The coincidentally funny thing is that most people who rely on the devices weren’t alive way back in The Time Before 20 or so years ago, so they don’t remember what it was like to not be able to be reached at all times of the day no matter where you went, so for them, here are the five best things about living in a world where cellphones didn’t exist yet.
1. You couldn’t be reached all the time or anywhere
About the only way to accomplish not being reachable today is if you ever lose your cellphone or it’s not working properly. It can remind you that there was something nice about not being able to be reached. These days, it’s like we are all doctors or have some other highly important job and are not just regular people. Do we really need to be reminded to pick up extra kale or have that obligatory conversation as soon as we leave work about what to make for dinner?
2. You were not tied to the phone
Everyone does this, and it’s invaded all our lives. It’s OK to not check your phone every 30 seconds, and waiting to find out what one of your friends or Twitter followers said in a comment on a cutesy photo of some adorable cats won’t kill you.
3. You had to wait, often in silence, with nothing to do
In the old days, if you were to meet someone someplace and they weren’t there yet, you would wait patiently. Now in the age of cellphones, it’s almost as if immediate panic sets in if you have to wait longer than two minutes for people to arrive. Cellphones have helped make patience a thing of the past.
4. You had to remember things like phone numbers (I know, right?!)
Everything someone needs to remember today is in his or her phone, and if that phone is misplaced or not immediately accessible, all hell breaks loose. Remembering basic things like phone numbers and addresses is a good thing, and not everything should be stored somewhere — our brains can do some of the work.
5. You didn’t have to worry about being recorded
If you find yourself out and doing something stupid or vulgar, chances are it’s going to be captured on video or in a picture. Just about every damn thing someone does can be recorded, by the people around them and especially by the government, and that’s not good for privacy or if you’re just plain acting like a dumbass.
Noah Zuss is reporter for TheBlot Magazine.