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I Went A Night Without Using My Cell Phone And It Totally Sucked

Cassidy Waters |
November 16, 2014 | 3:47 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

A society without cell phones is unimaginable (Cassidy Waters)
A society without cell phones is unimaginable (Cassidy Waters)
Think of an object you couldn’t imagine your life without. 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Chances are you thought about your cell phone. In our technology-driven age, it can seem nearly impossible to function, let alone survive, without the constant presence of a cell phone.

Sad, right? 

Well, don't feel too bad; you’re not alone. According to a TIME Mobility poll, 84% of Americans said they could not go a single day without their cell phones in hand. 

Don’t get me wrong; cell phones have inarguably transformed everyday life in many useful ways. For one, they provide a virtually infinite selection of applications that, quite frankly, make life worth living. I, personally, would be lost without my Waze app. And a cell phone provides a link to the outside world that translates into feelings of security and comfort for users. A consequence of this constant connection, however, is the need to always have our phones within reach.

READ MORE: The Government's Collecting Your Cellphone Data...Again

So leaving the house without a cell phone - voluntarily, no less - may seem crazy to some. That's why I decided to embark on a journey to test my limits. I would go out into the world for an entire night without a cell phone: no texting, no camera, no social media. It might be painful, but I would prove to the world that it could be done.

Recruiting friends was one of the hardest parts (I wasn't about to go alone... I'm not that crazy). When I initially asked them to join me on my phone-less excursion, their responses all went along the lines of, “no way in hell.” Typical. I finally got them to agree after some persuading (read: bribing with promises of Sprinkles cupcakes). The real challenge then began.

First off, let me just say that planning an entire night sans cell phone is a much more difficult task than one might think. Without the conveniences of GPS or the Internet, being spontaneous while on-the-go is no longer a viable option. Therefore, planning in advance is a must. After looking up directions and different LA destinations, our initial schedule turned out something like this: dinner in Beverly Hills, movie in Culver City, and dessert in West Hollywood. A pretty standard night out with the girls.

We arrived at our planned dinner location following a car ride tragically absent of personalized Spotify and iTunes playlists. Because the radio didn't allow us to listen to a sufficient amount of T-Swift, our moods had already taken a downhill turn by the time we sat down. After ordering, the reality of actually not being able to use our phones sank in. We all squirmed in our seats as we waited 15 torturous minutes while our food was prepared.

Cell phones not only provide a means for distraction, but also a source for information and conversation. Looking around at everyone in the restaurant, a good majority were either on their phones or had their phones in front of them so they could be informed at a moment’s notice if something interesting happened, because God forbid you miss the tweet from the random guy in your bio class talking about his new haircut.

READ MORE: Can Cell Phones Affect Sleep?

Our food finally arrived and, for a moment, we forgot about the absence of our cell phones. Not surprising that the only time we were fully content that night was when we were eating, but hey, no complaints here. This small victory, however, was short-lived. When our lattes arrived, my friend reached into her purse to snap a picture of the foam heart, and we were once again reminded of our technological FOMO. 

After dinner, our plans took a turn for the worse. Because we didn’t have our phones to check the time throughout the meal (and who wears watches anymore?), we took a lot longer to eat than expected and ended up missing the movie. Not gonna lie, pretty upset about the fact that I still haven't seen "Gone Girl."

This mistake, however, brought up an interesting thought – we live in a time-centric society. Everyone is always in a rush to get places, with every aspect of the day based around the element of time. This fixation causes us to eternally be thinking of the future, rather than living in the moment. Just for a second, I wondered if I would enjoy my life more if I weren't chained to my phone clock. Then I remembered "Gone Girl."

After missing the movie, we decided instead to drive to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to look at the light exhibit out front. We arrived at the museum and, low and behold, it was roped off for a private event. That night was the 2014 Art and Film Gala, something we would have known had we had access to our cell phones. Luckily, we did spot a few stars from behind the barricades. Unfortunately none of us could Instagram, Tweet, or Snapchat about it, so it didn’t really matter. Because everyone knows, pics or it didn’t happen.

In an effort to salvage the night, we still attempted to get dessert. Of course we got lost because GPS navigation wasn’t an option. Feeling defeated, we somehow made our way back to our apartment, eager to turn our phones back on and re-submerge ourselves into a society consumed by cell phone users. 

In conclusion, technology #FTW.

Contact Staff Reporter Cassidy here or follow her on Twitter here.



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