Nomophobia: Can you hear me?

Do you feel anxious when your phone’s battery indicator is down a bar? Do you pat yourself down periodically to assure yourself your phone is where it’s supposed to be? If so, you may be a nomophobic. You have a fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Ooh! NO MObile phone. Can you hear me?

Howie and I had to laugh when I saw Mo Rocca’s commentary today on CBS Sunday Morning. We may not be among the worst of cellphone addicts, but Mo still had us pegged. How about you?

We both use T-Mobile Dash smartphones (AKA HTC S620 Excalibur) and since porting our home numbers into two numbers on our family plan, we are without a landline at home. We held off for a while before doing this, comfortable with having telephones in most of our rooms. I didn’t like the idea of having to keep my cellphone on my person everywhere I went, afraid I’d forget it somewhere in the house. I was also reluctant because of the occasional fax we send.

Really, I was grasping at straws because I was comfortable with our current setup and reluctant to change; I did realize, however, that it made no sense to pay for two landlines we rarely used when we enjoyed good coverage with our wireless phones.

We took the plunge in August 2006, severing our relationship with Alltel (now Windstream in our area) and cutting the cords in the process. Getting used to just having one phone wasn’t as much of a hassle as I’d anticipated, and I soon got into the routine that stays with me to this day.

First thing when I get up, I grab my phone and my eyeglasses and head to the bathroom. The phone goes on the counter until I am dressed, then it goes in my pocket. It remains with me all day. At night, I read blogs in bed, using Google Reader, listen to a few podcasts, or play a game of Kevtris (if you like Tetris, get this — it has variations and can be very difficult!). When I find my eyes closing and I’m just about ready to nod off, I plug my phone in to charge overnight by the bed.

My Dash is not just a phone, but an alarm clock, calendar, organizer, book reader, movie viewer, MP3 player, game player, camera, web surfer and e-mailing device. My phone’s calendar I sync with my Google calendar using the free program Oggsync. And I have Google Calendar keep my Microsoft Outlook calendar on my PC up to date with a one-way sync from Google to my PC. This way, I have only to enter appointments on my phone or at Google Calendar; the rest is done automatically.

I use Thunderbird on my PC for my e-mail, but I do keep Microsoft Outlook installed for the sole purpose of easy backup and updating of my contacts. If Google would come up with a way for us to sync contacts with Gmail contacts, I’d use it in a heartbeat.If it weren’t for my calendar and its reminders, I’m not sure I’d remember half of my appointments. It’s been a lifesaver for me!

I love being able to take a photo and immediately upload it to Flickr or another website, zap it to a friend’s phone via MMS, or e-mail it to someone. Since the Dash has a QWERTY keyboard, I don’t have to mess with that irritating T9 texting. Sometimes it’s less intrusive to receive and reply to a text than it is to a phone call, and I have several friends (including my boss) who prefer this mode of communication when all that’s needed is a quick answer about something.

I’m a tweaker with it, too. I cruise the forums at XDA-Developers and Howard Forums (no relation, guys) looking for tweaks, registry hacks, programs and tips to use with my phone. Sometimes I mess things up and have to go on search for a fix…But worst-case scenario, I can do a factory reset and be back to where I started. Thank God I’ve come a long way since the early 1990’s when they had to reinstall Windows 3.1 on my office computer because I’d played around with the color and desktop properties to the point where the color palette app was hosed. 😉 By the way, for a fun romp through the history of GUI’s, check out Guidebook Gallery.

Are there times I don’t like having my phone with me? You bet! Though I used to let our machine pick up if I didn’t feel like talking on my landline, somehow I feel guilty if I don’t answer my cellphone. This is especially true if the person calling knows that they’re calling my cellphone and that I have it with me all the time. I’m getting better about letting it go to voicemail when I don’t feel like talking. I tell myself, “the person will call back if it’s really important or they’ll leave a message.” Still, that nagging guilt is there in the background. I just have to recall that for years we would spend many hours away from our home phone every day and the world kept going. People left messages and we returned their calls when it was convenient for us.

You can tell from my long-winded post that I am a wireless enthusiast. If you’re still with me, if your eyes haven’t glazed over, you might just be one, too.

2 thoughts on “Nomophobia: Can you hear me?

  1. I love just having one phone and always having it with me. I don’t mind letting it go to voice mail. There are just times when your not available.

  2. Oh, you are bad! Actually, I take my cell phone with me everywhere too, but I don’t play games, connect to the Internet, and take pictures or anything else. I just use it to make calls and mainly receive calls. I love it, but there are times it really annoys me.

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