Can You Hear Me Now? A Broken Cell Phone Shows the Ugly Side of Technology

Not going to lie–it was ugly. So much so that I have vowed to change my stubborn ways– and change is good right?

What happened to me last week was interesting to say the least. My cell phone suddenly died–dead! Ordinarily, this would not be a problem for someone like me, who until last year, still had a sliding keypad, but now, I use the device for just about every thing I do.

It was not too long ago that I was on the other side. You know, the side where a parent tries to keep up with their kidlet’s online personality. Three years ago I wrote an article, Parents Need Technology 101, when adults didn’t seem as involved with the online social media frenzy. Well, times have changed.

No condition to be conditioned

Without a working phone, I realized I was deep in the throes of a very rough couple of days ahead. Something as simple as communication seemed so complicated. It wasn’t that I felt “naked” without one, it was more like the “Pavlov’s Dogs” classic conditioning theory. I learned to associate my cell phone with information and communication. The initial loss was devastating.

Day 1 – Every girls’ gadget–the “Googlebox”

The first day without a working phone seem fairly straightforward; problem solved; just get a new one. I hopped on my loyal desktop computer and from the Sprint website I was ready to order another phone and have it shipped over night. Surely, I had racked up some type of benefit and could upgrade for a small fee.  Not so fast–I waited, longer than I should have, for an outsourced worker to tell me that Sprint would not take a trade-in on my phone because it was broken. But, I could buy a new one for $400.00! Hey, I’m a writer, not a movie star. Huh, #thanksbutnothanks

Type A personality that I am, I decided to try to fix it myself. At least if I found a repair shop, perhaps I could save money on their diagnostic test. I went straight to every girls’ toolbox–“Google.” I was able to narrow the problem to the phone’s charging port. But after three hours of mechanical interpretation, fixing the charging port was definitely not for me. My Friday night was turning into Saturday morning.

Day 2 – On the mend and making friends

My hopes for my cell phone to mysteriously fix itself overnight were smashed when I woke up ready to post my disability “word of the day” on Twitter. Sadly, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. The panic was overwhelming. What crazy thing was Donald Trump tweeting about now? Did anyone post some great gossipy pictures on Instagram? Are any of my readers waiting for a response to their comment? For fear of being chastised the entire rest of my life, I couldn’t ask any of my own kidlet’s to get on social media and stalk my accounts for me; although I got very close to bribing my daughter to do it. Unfortunately, my request most likely would have taken the shape of a “screenshot” and probably would have ended up on Facebook, or worse yet, some fake high school Instagram account only to be used against me in the future.

As the day went on, I managed to handle my weekend chores and errands with only moderate difficulty. It wasn’t the lack of social media that was my biggest downfall, it was the inability to take wonderful pictures for my website. To avoid any copyright lawsuits, I take my own photos but I haven’t owned a regular camera for about 10 years (does anyone these days?). I’ve become conditioned to snapping pics everywhere I go, but this lack of this excitement just wounded my soul. I found myself withering away and needed a quick fix–literally.

I stopped into the first repair shop I could find. Interestingly enough, the clerk behind the desk had seen this type of problem before. It would cost a pretty penny and at least three hours of my time. A small price to pay for peace of mind.

The shop was very busy. I noticed parents who also had broken phones; screens, batteries, and chargers. Most of these customers were about my age. I introduced myself to anyone who would listen and learned we all got ourselves in a social media mess. Were we really this attached that we could fill a repair store like this? Doesn’t anyone here have anything better to with their Saturday than sit and wait for their cell phone to be repaired? I realized then, that adults could not disconnect either and we were all just as attached to our devices as our children.

The feelings are real

I was more desperate for the convenience of having a cell phone not so much for the communication. As an adult, I have the benefit of the TV news or reading a newspaper to find out what is happening in society. While teens have this same option, their “world” consists of the social circle in which they survive; friends, non-friends, Instagram, Twitter, Kik, Snapchat, Vine, Wanelo, and Instant Messenger just to name a few. That’s it–that’s all they got.

Without this experience, it would be hard for me to understand a teenagers’ desperate need to hold onto their phones stocked with so much information. It is literally their only connection to the outside world. Take that away and the results could be devastating such as the deaf girl who wanted to commit suicide. This is a horrible and unfortunate reality of modern technology.

The ugly truth

While not totally disconnected from the world, I sure felt as though I was. I understand now how my daughter feels when she has made the wrong choice and is without a phone for a while. I will confess that the lack of a device, for the sole purpose of perusing the social media network, was a bit unsettling.

It is no secret that parents and children have their own ideas about society but the feelings about communication are the same.This is a fight we will not win.

The ugly truth be told that every race, young, old or disabled, are just as desperate for the interactions and consequently, social media does not discriminate.

Happily ever after

I got my phone back later that night; good as new. I had planned to check everyone’s status but instead, my girl and I played a savvy game of Monopoly. Interestingly enough, everything and everyone I needed to know about sat right there in front of me, conveniently, in my own living room– and I didn’t have to pick up my phone once.



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