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No, I’m Not Addicted To My Phone (I Can Quit Anytime I Want)

June 5, 2018

As I turned my phone on, it gave a familiar ping letting me know that I had missed a call. Not surprising after four days. I’m generally not without my phone for four hours, let alone that many days. If it hadn’t been for a short side trip to Wilson, AZ, it would be another day before I realized I’d missed that call.

I’ve taken my phone camping countless times. I’ve hiked with it to the top of Mt Timpanogos, at about 12,000 feet. I’ve anxiously played hide and seek with cell phone coverage as I’ve driven through Southern Utah on my way to Zions National Park, or Gobblin Valley. My team is used to being able to contact me on a moment’s notice, 24 hours per day, seven days a week. In fact, my availability is such an integral and expected part of our business processes, that unless I’ve made other arrangements, there is literally no other option. They just keep calling me until I pick up the phone.

But, for the past four days, it’s been off. Not dead. It has a full charge. But, it’s been turned off in my bag. And I haven’t missed it a bit. My lovely wife is a little worried about me.

Are you anxious with being out of touch without your phone?

Not really.

Considering I had just snapped at one of the kids for punching his brother, she wasn’t entirely convinced.

But, it was true. For the last four days, my family has been on a vaction to the South rim of the Grand Canyon. We live in Pleasant Grove, UT a short 6 hour drive from the North rim and an 8 hour drive from the South rim. But, in the many years we’ve lived in Utah, we’ve never visited this natural wonder, until now.

As regular readers know, I go camping a lot. Like 11 months out of the year. We take the scouts out into Utah’s great wilderness locations. We’ve been doing it for years and every year we go to the same places at the same time. January is the Klondike Derby in American Fork Canyon (no cell service.) May, for example, is a 12 mile overnight backpacking trip in the mountains above our little town (spotty cell service, but possible.) April was Maple Canyon in Central Utah (great cell service except when hiking the slot canyon.)

Most times I set the following expectation with my team and with a designated backup,

Try calling me first. If I don’t pick up, call the backup.

But, there are times where I simply say, “I’m not available.” Sometimes, it’s even when there is cell service. I just don’t want to try to juggle potential system outages with whatever it is I’m doing. For example, during my daughter’s wedding or my uncle’s funeral. No, don’t call me, I won’t pick up the phone.

This trip was one of those times. I didn’t know if there would be cell service or not. Turns out not. There are a couple of locations in the park where certain carriers got a couple of bars. But, most of Grand Canyon National Park including Mather campground where we are staying, is a cell phone free zone.

We all wonder how we would behave in a stressful situation. If there were a fire would I be one of those who would panic in a scramble for the exit? Would I be one of the selfless ones to stay calm and make sure others are safe first? If I part of a group attacked by a bear in the wilderness, would I be like the person putting on his running shoes?

What are you doing that for? You can’t out run a bear.

I don’t have to out run the bear. I just have to out run you

Or would I act to attempt to save others?

I think we all are the hero of the stories we tell ourselves. We, of course, would be the brave one, the selfless one. We would sacrifice our own food so the widows and orphans could eat.

But, until we’ve been in a situation, we really cannot say. I use my phone a lot. I have an external battery because it’s not uncommon for me to run through two full charges in a day. I have four different headsets for my phone, two Bluetooth and two wired.

And yet, it’s a work requirement. How would I react if I had to give it up for a day? A week? Would I suffer wildrawls? Once I got reception again, would I scramble to catch up on days of missed calls and Facebook status?

No. No, I wouldn’t.

We get back home tomorrow. I’ll need to remember to check on that missed call.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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