In the last month I have had the opportunity to tag along with my wife to 2 cities that I have never visited before. My ignorance of these two cities was compounded by the fact that, other than plane and hotel booking, I did ZERO research into entertainment, transportation, or food options. I arrived in the cities, the first by car and the second by plane with only my luggage, my lovely wife, and my trusty smartphone.
It had never occurred to do any research on the cites. I merely arrived at the city with a hotel name and address in hand and expected it to all work out for the best and it did. I was able to call cabs, order food, manage calendars, get directions, arrange a commute via the local mass transit system, rent a car, plan a cave touring day, buy tickets for a comedy show, even look at the rare risqué lady image that some man-friend had sent me. All of this was accomplished with one single device.
It didn’t seem strange or even the slightest bit techno-nerdy to be able to do all this until a few weeks later when my boss asked me “What would you do if you didn’t have that phone?” The only answer that I could come up with at the time was, “Lay down and die.” While this was an overreaction for the current situation of “Was Journey a hair band or not?” it might have been true in far and away cities.
I pictured myself landing in an unknown city with no map, no giant local phonebook, no entertainment listing, and no documentation on how I was getting home. I don’t think I would have had as much fun as I did. In fact it would have been a terrible trip full of seedy diners, crooked taxis, and hours of being lost looking for the freeway. Ideally i would have spent hours researching my destination made reservations and created a very strict itinerary, complete with maps and contained in a spiral bound notebook, to follow.
I guess the big question is, have I and everyone else become dependant on a piece of technology that could easily be lost, broken or stolen? Personally I don’t think I have. Sure I use my little smart phone to look up hair metal classifications and directions to the nearest Hard Rock Cafe, but I also remember how to do those things without a handheld gateway to the Internet/(everything I ever wanted to know and also lots of porn). I’m not sure the current generation of children will have my ancient skills, but that’s a rant for another day. But the fact remains I don’t have to have use those skills and use/lose the hours they require anymore. I can fly by the seat of my pants without a hour by hour itinerary. The freedom that my little smartphone offers is staggering.
The point I’m trying to make here (and getting sidetracked a lot) is that smartphones are awesome. They combine portability and functionality and enable a person to know everything about anything from nearly anywhere. Take a second to consider that for a moment. Everything, Anything, Anywhere. This whole concept and technology snuck up on me so slowly and gradually, that I took it for granted and never realized what had. The future turned into the present overnight and i didn’t notice.
Well enough sappy pondering. End of the day we have amazing pieces of technology that fit into our pockets that save us a lot of time (And waste a lot too). I like to be able to look up what a jackalope is while sitting in the woods. I like being able to take a picture of my adorable dog and send it to everyone that I know. I just never took a step back and thought about the awesome the power that a little phone could has. Now if it could just multitask.