smartphone isn’t

so a few months ago I realised I’d had my phone for years and according to my contract I was “entitled” to a new phone.  Although there was nothing whatsoever wrong with my phone, I called the company and told them I wanted a new one. Bright, shiny and new. Sure enough, they sent me a lovely new “smart phone”. This gizmo is connected to the internet 24/7 so I get all my Facebook, twitter, emails etc.  delivered to me with a chirpy little ping so I never miss one. Surfing the net is a breeze. Wow. I plugged in, charged up and away!

it is great, every time somebody mentions anything contentious in a conversation I can say “oh I’ll look it up” and take out my phone and go straight to google. Bus journeys become multimedia festivals, I don’t  have to bother looking out the window at boring old London or communicate to the people next to me, as I have my phone to entertain me. Emails are a doddle. I can even plug in the headphones and listen to music. I’m not much of a person for talking on the phone though; I have it because, well, you have to have a phone, right?

so this is i-living! wow!

and yet …. firstly the battery needs to be charged pretty much all the time. So the beast has to sit on my desk draining power every night. Or it’s out of battery. the more you use it the quicker it drains. OK, I understand that, it makes sense, but for god’s sake …. charge charge charge. Along with my cameras and my laptop and and and (I have developed a hatred of chargers that is so deep and visceral ….)

oh and the fact that when I went to Amsterdam for two days, and I switched the phone to flight mode so I would not incur internet data charges, but I checked the phone exactly twice and read ONE email, I got a bill for £5.  So I can’t really use it abroad. And the camera, at least on the model I have, is crap. (However as a trained photographer, aside from my bulky SLRs, I do of course have a canny little Nikon compact even smaller than the phone.)

but I can live with all that. what I can’t really live with is that with this smart (?) phone I have become stupid. Really stupid. If anyone says anything, or an idea pops into my head, instead of trying to work it out, or if necessary going into my room FULL of learned books, I rush to the shallow and inaccurate but instant Wikipedia.  I stop conversations dead by disconnecting and heading straight into the phone. I cut people off mid sentence by responding to the insistent ping! of my phone’s alerts. I do this to friends, family and just narrowly manage to avoid doing it to colleagues. I try to turn off most of the alerts but can’t seem to find some of them, so ping! never really goes away.

Andy why do I need Google Maps on a phone in London, a city I’ve lived in for years and years, when I have negotiated my way around the megalopolises of Moscow and Cairo, for god’s sake, with just a piece of paper or, more usually, nothing but intuition and occasionally asking a local?!

I have to face the fact that smart phones aren’t. Oh, the phones are smart enough with their clever little microchips that do your thinking for you. But the phone is making me stupid! Blank, uncommunicative, hunched into myself (that famous “smartphone hunch” we see everywhere these days),filling my poor brain with snippet of facile “information” that I really do not need.

So, the smartphone goes. SIM card out,the old phone resurrected and dusted off. Normal life resumes.

Now if I could find a way to just get rid of the phone altogether.


  1. Hey Gillian
    Ha ha — a great and funny post. Smartphones do make people (myself included) very rude, attending to the phone instead of human company.
    To help with your charging problem: it won’t solve it completely, but what I have found is that by constantly dimming the screen (unless I’m sitting in blazing sunshine having the screen brightness set to 50% or less is fine) I can conserve battery significantly. Hope that helps — at least until you get rid of the thing!


Comments are closed.