A little less than two weeks ago I completely shattered the back of my cell phone. I was having a heated discussion, lost my temper, and spiked my phone. The phone itself does have a protective bumper around it, but lacks a full case. After the spike, the phone hit the carpet, bounced and hit part of my dog’s cage. The impact to the back was right around SIM card slot. It left me unable to send or receive phone calls, and only able to receive texts when passing by areas with a strong signal. Since I don’t have a landline, I was completely stuck without the ability to make or receive calls. Oddly enough, I was able to use Wi-Fi to contact people via e-mail and social media.

I wasn’t sure how I would survive a week until the arrival of my replacement phone (thanks, eBay!), but the week turned out to be an interesting experience. On the very day I broke my phone, it was the same day I was to meet Karen and a few others for her mini Career Revival Concert. The event was in Blue Bell, about 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia. The area was unfamiliar to me and I realized I couldn’t use my GPS. Determined to attend, I printed out paper instructions. I haven’t used print instructions since 2008, so the experience was somewhat surreal. I made it to Blue Bell without incident, but discovered it was impossible to read the directions home, search for small street signs at 11PM, and drive at the same time. I ended up going the original way I came while reversing the steps in my mind. To be honest, it normally isn’t an exercise I practice when in unfamiliar territory since GPS is so readily available. Fortunately, I made it home without problems.

The experience also made me realize how much we rely on instant communication technology. I had to tell those close to me that I would be out of contact for a while, which forced me to either make in-person visits, or rely on Facebook to spread the news. Those trying to get in touch with me were relieved by my efforts, since they thought it was out of character for me not to answer phone calls or texts. However, a good chunk of being unavailable by phone was oddly calming. I didn’t have to worry about receiving texts or phone calls, nor did I need to urgently need to call anyone. Ultimately, I’m just thankful I didn’t find myself in a situation where I needed to use my phone. Perhaps the real lesson here is that we could all stand to take a step back from technology every so often. Also, don’t spike your phone during a heated conversation– just hang up.

(On another note, I’m thinking of turning my shattered phone into an MP3 player/podcast device. It’d be a shame to let a mostly functional phone go to waste.)

Have you ever been forced to go without your phone for several days? Was the experience liberating, terrifying, or both?

Droid Eris Meets Pavement by Robert Nelson of Flickr

Not representative of my phone