Out of touch

Jam of the week: “Vasoline” by Stone Temple Pilots

For the better part of the last two weeks, I’ve accidentally slipped through a portal to the distant past. Or at least it seems like it. Webster City still remains largely the same, the dates seem consistent with the present, but my cell phone hasn’t had reception for the past couple weeks.

My account with U.S. Cellular was one of many sold to Sprint in a recent selloff of accounts. I got a discount on my phone which was a two step upgrade to my Samsung Galaxy 1 to a 3 model. Sure, my reception wasn’t as good as it was in town with U.S. Cellular, but it worked for phone calls and habitual Facebook checks.

While my signal was shoddy in a couple places, namely the office and my apartment, I tried to call my parents one night and couldn’t get a signal anywhere as I walked down a downtown alley. No matter how many curses I threw at my phone, it wasn’t going to work with me.

As far as I’ve been able to tell, the outage has affected more than just myself in Webster City. Talking with one of my coworkers, he said that a friend hasn’t had reception either recently and he hasn’t been able to get internet using a wireless internet device that works through mobile networks. He said the cell towers are being worked on, but didn’t have a timeframe for when it might be fixed.

After throwing an obligatory status on Facebook letting people know I was still indeed among the living, I descended into the dark world of not having a cell phone. Well, of course I still have it, but I only use it to take notes, play music, record interviews, and play a couple games. It’s like I don’t even have one at all.

Kidding aside, it is a little worrying to have my only personal phone contact not working. I feel like I’m waiting for the moment when something happens and my family needs to contact me right away. I’m waiting for the moment when I see a car crash and won’t be able to call 911 without rushing into a nearby store.

On the other side, it’s been an oddly peaceful and productive couple weeks for me. I have a good excuse to not text friends back who would bug me about how good “Gravity” is. I can take a break at work and mull over what I still have to do for the day rather than compulsively see if anyone responded to my tweet about how hard it is to cook macaroni and cheese in a tea kettle. By the way, the trick is to either drain the water by holding up a Tupperware cover to the spout to drain the water or buy a proper pot because you’re 23 and don’t have the excuse of being in college anymore for this kind of crude stuff, Jim.

It says a lot to how bound to the connected world I am to go just a while without the main functions of my smartphone. Hopefully when my cell reception returns, hopefully in the near future, I’ll be able to take a step back and remember the good things about being away from the phone for a while. Maybe I’ll just turn it off and tune out the world at large for just a little while and have some time to myself.

But first, I’ll have to check out that thing someone just sent me.