Much of my attention this week was dedicated to my mobile phone, which wasn’t functioning well. I bought Nokia‘s smart phone E71 in December and was quite happy with it. Until the emails stopped arriving. Fortunately my phone company Comcel‘s helpdesk was very willing to help. But then the problem returned and worse. My email account was ‘deconfigured’. And Comcel’s helpdesk stopped being helpful…I spent hours and hours trying to solve my problem with Comcel’s employees, who didn’t want to put me through with their colleagues of technical support. Without result. Then they gave me a phone number of Nokia in Colombia and I had to deal with an arrogant guy with an Argentinian accent, perhaps a call centre in Buenos Aires, who knows. Problem not solved.
I thought of my bad experience with T Mobile in my homecountry Holland and felt worse and worse. A smart phone that isn’t behaving smart causes a lot of frustration.
But I thought of another thing. It strikes me how quickly you feel you cannot live without email on your phone. I have lived almost whole my life like that and have never been unhappy. Moreover I can check my email on my laptop. What’s the problem? I am still connected to the world. I know the problem can be solved and indeed it was solved. One day without email on my phone is not a big damage.
The more possibilities you have to be connected, the more you feel you cannot live without them. When they stop functioning, you feel terrible. You feel like a big injustice is being done to you. Isn’t that strange?
In the midnineties I got a job in a company where email was used. I got my first emailaddress. My computer at home was very old and wasn’t fit to have internet. And I thought it was good because at home I would do other things than check my email all the time. When I quit my job and started working as a freelance journalist from my home, I had to buy a modern computer with internet and email. At that time about all my friends had a mobile phone. I refused to buy one, thinking I would be the slave of communication and never have rest. After a year I gave in and bought one.
Some years later the smart phone arrived and I thought the same thing: why be forced to be connected and available everywhere at every time? Until the advantage of having your email at hand became too evident. Especially when you are not at home, travelling for example. So I bought my Nokia E71.
It’s great, but still I think I am right in this fear to be the slave of ‘connectability’. You become addicted, yet what can you do? Sell smart phone, disconnect from internet? Absolutely not. Perhaps it is better to learn to accept failures in connectability and enjoy to be disconnected for a while.