Welcome To The No-Cell Zone

I spent this past weekend in Abilene, TX, at my fiance’s grandparent’s house. They live slightly out of town, on the lake. I was warned on the way out there that I would be without service, as they live out of town, but I shook that off, since Christina previously had a Sprint cellphone, and hadn’t been out to their house with her new AT&T phone yet.

She was right, somewhat. I didn’t have signal *in* their home, though walking outside I was able to get 3 bars on my N95 8GB. It became interesting to me how my usage changed without a signal. First off, I could care less about having a voice signal. I was overly concerned about not having data. We spent 3 days with them, and not being able to check email or read RSS was nerve-racking for me. It should be clear that I wouldn’t have simply sat the whole weekend glued to my phone. Afterall, that would be rude when visiting someone else. However, it would have been nice to be able to check email/RSS before bed and when I woke up.

I noticed that I lost all interest in my handset entirely. I even kept it powered off on the 3rd day. On the first day, I was mostly concerned with waving it around the house, desperately seeking at least one bar to calm my nerves.

I’ve always been one to say that technology should enrich and enable your real life, and I firmly believe that. Spending 3 days with no cell signal (unless we went ‘into town’, that is, at which point I certainly was glued) really tested that. At one point, NOT having technology (specifically, cellphone) inhibited real life. After a short period of time, however, I was actually (gasp) able to function without even having my phone ON, much less having signal.

How does this affect the way that I use my phone in other situations with full service? Were you subjected to any withdrawals on your holidays?


2 Responses to Welcome To The No-Cell Zone

  1. Vero December 27, 2007 at 3:01 am #

    Interesting that you mention this. I’ve been in Canada for 13 days now, and while I do get reception, I didn’t want to keep my phone turned on due to insane roaming costs (over $2 USD/min to make a call, over a dollar to receive. Thankfully, zero cost to receive texts.) I could use the iPhone on wifi at home, but seems kind of pointless using it in the house when the laptop is also at hand.

    I’ve borrowed my mom’s antique phone for the essential calls when going into town but otherwise have been going completely phone-free for nearly two weeks (I feel like an addict speaking out at an anonymous meeting…) and am coping reasonably well. My RSS reading on *desktop* has gone up massively in exchange, but aside from that, I’ve spent more time playing Scrabble with mom and playing stupid pranks on my sisters.

    Must admit I won’t mind going back to my routine all that much though. I miss the web accessible on my phone…

  2. James Whatley December 27, 2007 at 8:27 am #

    Good things happen when you turn your phone off.

    Well – most of the time –

    I went out one Friday a while back and purposely turned my phone off as I knew that I did not want to be contacted except by the people I was going to spend the weekend with.

    I didn’t turn my phone on again until the following Monday morning. SO empowering!

    However – I’d recommended telling loved ones before you do it – especially if you’re a phone geek – one of my friends actually phoned the police..

    “But he NEVER has his phone off for this long!”

    *whistles innocently*


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