Ten Things I've Learned Since I Became Phoneless

For those of you who haven’t been following my Twitter updates (shame on you!), you’ll know that I’ve been phoneless since Sunday. My phone can no longer charge, I don’t have a way to replace that battery, etc. You get the idea.

And although it’s sucked at times, it really hasn’t been all that bad (at least until I check my text messages…). But it’s given me some interesting thoughts about our current standards for communication that I want to share.

So here are ten things I’ve learned since I became phoneless:

1) It’s not so bad

Despite how easy it is to connect and to manage things with a phone, it’s hasn’t been so bad post-phone. It’s worse at home since I have no landline, but I can use other people’s phones and my work landline for those conversations that need a phone. I’ve used the Internet more to supplement my lack of calling, and Skype is also a wonder.

But it’s not calling out that’s the problem, it’s receiving messages, and that I do miss. However, I function just fine without a phone.

2) But you WILL miss out on important things if you are phoneless

My dad’s in the hospital for a foot infection (he gashed his foot and thought continuing a triathlon would be a good idea). I didn’t know until late the next day because I couldn’t call or be called. That’s one of those htings you don’t want to miss or be told about late.

And if you’re phoneless, you’ll miss out on some of the important things. Or at least the news will be delayed, especially news you need now.

3) I am unwilling to get an iPhone without the $200 subsidy on principle.

I have been a loyal AT&T customer since I was sixteen. I’ve never used any other provider and have been satisfied with my service and customer support.

When my phone first broke, I knew what phone I wanted next – the iPhone 3G. My current phone is a smartphone, but without the keypad, I can’t blog, I can’t do fast email replies, and I can’t surf very fast. The iPhone has all the functionality I am looking for, plus the app store for added features.

With all that said, I am completely and utterly unwilling to pay $400 for the iPhone when others are getting it for $200. Come on AT&T – I’m 1.5 years into my current contract and know others who have gotten the iPhone subsidized with just a year on their contracts.

In fact, with the temporary phone I’m about to get, I’m going to be paying less to AT&T and Apple. My plan will cost less and the phone costs less as well.

I wish AT&T would reward loyalty and allow me to purchase the phone for the $200 price tag, especially since I am so far into my contract. Being stingy about it isn’t good customer service and in the end, it’s not going to make you money. By January, I may have found a better phone option. You need to lock me in when I really want something – which would be now.

And if you’re reading AT&T and Apple, I still want my iPhone. Just not for $400 bucks. Never. No way, no how.

4) Cindy Talbot of AT&T Customer Support deserves a promotion and a raise

She is the one of the most incredible customer service reps I’ve ever talked to in my life. She tried everything to solve my problems, was nothing but courteous and helpful, despite being sick. That woman is a trooper. She didn’t get the result I was hoping for (an iPhone for $200), but she did get me a temporary phone to help me along until I get that iPhone. She deserves a medal, a raise, and a promotion. And as soon as this post is done, I’m emailing AT&T customer service.

5) Twitter, Gmail, and IM are close to replacing phone functionality

Those three do a good job of supplementing your contact needs. I can do quasi-texting with Twitter Direct messages, I can email friends and inform them of my issue, and I can IM people for faster conversations when I’m not using Skype. It’s worked out pretty well, especially with my techie friends.

6) But Twitter, Gmail, and IM still do not match the convenience of a phone

Nothing beats full two-way voice communication with a set of numbers you’ve built up since you were sixteen. I can’t do tweets while driving, and I can’t tweet a restaurant order on the go. I still need a phone for a lot of things.

7) Contact with those outside the tech circle’s nearly impossible without a phone

Outside of my tech friends, I’ve had almost no conversations. I can only inform so many friends and have been on the phone with only a handful of people. They probably don’t know I’m out of the phone world. And who knows what calls I’ve missed from outside family given my father’s condition.

8) Memorize key numbers and backup the rest

I tried to back up the numbers when I realized that my phone could not be powered up again, but I didn’t have enough time to pick the top 250 numbers and stick them onto my SIM card while in the airport.

Keep back-ups of your numbers on your computer and memorize the numbers of your best friends. I know my family numbers, but I need to keep the numbers of those closest to me in my wallet or in my head so I can talk to them from anywhere at any time.

9) Nothing beats a phone on the road or planning meet-ups

There’s a reason why it’s called a mobile phone. Calling for directions cannot be replaced. And I can’t check Google maps on the go anyway without my phone.

10) You will not die without a phone

I’m still blogging, aren’t I?