Must you always be connected?

Did you ever wonder what you did before you had a cellphone? Have you wondered how you possibly could have lived without a smartphone?
Some of you reading this column quickly will think, “I don’t have a smartphone, let alone a cellphone” and so there is no wonderment in the first two questions.
And they have another question: “Why do I need a cellphone?”
Research in Motion (RIM), now known as BlackBerry, brought us into the smartphone era. Before that, Nokia, a company operating out of Finland, was the largest retailer of cellphones from 1998. And since the introduction of the iPhone, RIM has dropped as a seller as both Samsung and Apple have been fighting for supremacy.
The first cellphones were hardly portable, requiring a shoulder bag to carry them and were as big as a small shoebox. They also quickly could discharge the batteries that powered them.
Miniaturization made the cellphone portable. The phone could fit into your pocket, be holstered on your belt, or dropped into a purse.
The selling feature of those first cellphones was peace of mind. Television commercials promoted that you could call from anywhere in North America should your car break down.
When I stopped on the highway to assist a car full of ladies just south of Sioux Narrows, they were bewildered that they could not call their husbands or AAA for roadside assistance. Yes, you could call from anywhere—but only reach someone if cell towers existed in the area you were travelling in.
The first practical phones in the district received an analogue signal. And with that, the proliferation of cellphones began across Rainy River District. The service came as a partnership between First Nations’ groups and TBayTel.
The demand was huge. Suddenly, people couldn’t be without a cellphone. They had to be able to call someone instantly from anywhere.
When an airplane landed at an airport, the cellphones were turned on, automated dialing took place, and people began to rapidly find out what important things had happened in their lives during the hour they had been on a plane.
At a restaurant, no sooner had they ordered their meal than they were on their cellphone to someone telling them what they were going to eat while their lunch partner sat opposite in silence.
With our BlackBerrys, we could receive and send e-mails and texts. We didn’t have to talk anymore. Then came the iPhones and Galaxies and other smartphones and we could search the Internet for information. We could take pictures and send them to friends.
We could play games, and watch movies and television with the apps that were made available to us. We could hang on every word in a “Tweeted” posting. We could live vicariously the lives of our friends on “Facebook.”
The smartphone became our entertainment system.
My wife tells me that I am addicted to my smartphone. I rather doubt that, but I now carry it all the time. She also has a cellphone, but most of the time it rests in the bottom of her purse, with the battery run dry, so she can’t be reached unless you dial the landline.
At our cabin on Rainy Lake, while you can see the town from our island, it often is hit-or-miss on whether you can make a phone call. Sometimes it is easier to connect with a U.S. network.
Parts of the district continue to have problems with cellphone service.
And when you are in those areas, do you feel any less safe? Do you feel alone? If you don’t have a cellphone, where might you find a pay phone?
And for everyone, do you always have to be connected?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail