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10 Things People Stop Doing When They Get iPhones

Remembering a world in which you couldn't 4G your way to just about anything

Before cell phones, we’d have to call each other’s landlines and “ask to speak to” whomever we were actually trying to reach.

It had the potential to be awkward and uncomfortable. Especially if your boyfriend’s dad answered.

We had no idea how hard life was without the Internet. When the first cell phones came into play, we discovered the beauty of T9 and the game Snake as technology barreled ahead. Fast forward a few years, and Google Maps has made GPS tools like the Garmin obsolete. We take videos at concerts instead of relying on our memories, preferring to watch this “live show” through a digital viewer. We message people instead of calling them up and asking for a date. We check Twitter and avoid voicemail. Our phones are remote controls for our lives. And, in becoming so, they’ve cut out certain parts of our lives. Some parts that, perhaps, didn’t need cutting out.

Looking Up a Family Recipe

It’s easy to Google anything you want to know. I can type in half of the word “chicken” and thousands of recipes will flood my screen, promising me speed and efficiency and “simplicity.” But wasn’t there something inherently special about the biscuit recipe that had been passed down from grandma to mom and then sort of to you, but of course you lost it? It’s the kind of recipe you have to call your mom for. The kind she has to dig through an old desk drawer and find a notecard that has batter from an old batch of cookies stuck to it. But it’s worth it.

Card Games

When’s the last time you got involved in a good, hard-fought game of War? Egyptian Rats? Gin? Pitch? These 52 cards seem so irrelevant now with Twitter and Angry Birds and Words With Friends and whatever passing-phase app is coming out tomorrow. But, this is exactly the sort of pastime that got you to sit down with friends, compete in a calm (unless you’re playing my version of Egyptian Rats) environment and talk to people.

Mix Tapes

A lost art form, a true way to show your love and dedication and affinity for musical matchings. Sure, you can still throw together a Spotify playlist for your one true love, but you’re going to have a hard time convincing them that there’s anything terribly romantic about the link you instant message them.

Mario Kart

Okay. Maybe there was a lot of shouting, a lot of grumbling, and definitely a lot of trying to shoot red shells at Princess Peach, but playing Mario Kart was a way of bringing a community of people together. It was the game you threw in the N64 when someone’s awkward cousin came over. Or when you realized your new college roommate didn’t like leaving the room. It was the great equalizer, the common ground for all mankind. No matter who you were, or where you came from, you knew your way around Mario Kart. And, then we just stopped playing, trading this communal video game for staring at our phone in solitude, playing games with our thumbs. How do you think that made Yoshi feel?

Neighborhood Games

Kick the Can. Capture the Flag. Kickball. Flashlight Tag. Some kids called them “Night Games.” Some people called them “Games I Played When I Was 10.” And, there’s truth to both of those titles. So, why’d they have to stop? Is it because we don’t live on cul-de-sacs anymore? They allowed us to interact with perfect strangers and distant neighbors and so many people we wouldn’t have ever normally hung out with. The only connection you needed in order to play was to live in the same neighborhood.

Tracking Down The Ice Cream Truck

There are roughly 13 apps devoted to finding the closest ice cream store. The days when you’d hear “The Entertainer” buzzing down the street and you’d start digging through the couch cushions for quarters so you could afford one of those popsicles that also looked like a firework and tasted like diabetes are long gone.

Listening to the Radio

Sure, it was full of annoying commercials and a lot of overplayed pop songs, but wasn’t it all worth it for that moment when that one song you loved came on? That kind of excitement doesn’t quite exist anymore now that we can find whatever song, whenever we want, to play as many times as we want. The radio made us feel lucky. It made good music a rare, thrilling experience, just out of our reach.

Reading Things On Paper

This is horribly contradictory considering the medium of this article. But, when’s the last time you read something that couldn’t just be deleted or turned off? Or read a book while you were in line at the DMV instead of scrolling through your Twitter feed? Reading a book was once the pinnacle of “relaxing.” Now, digesting information that takes longer than 140 characters to establish feels like a chore.

Getting Lost

It may be inconvenient, it may make us late, and it may even be a little bit scary, but it’s pretty much never going to happen again. Isn’t that a little strange to think about? There’s simply not a great excuse for getting lost now, unless your phone was swallowed by wolves in a forest (but even then, how would anyone end up in a forest?) Some of us have had many of our greatest adventures while lost. There’s not much adventure in always knowing where you’re going and what time you’re going to get there.

Sending a Postcard

Now you get your restaurant bills on postcards or you buy old ones at the Flea Market to stick on your walls. But these artifacts have recently become true vestiges of a time deep in the past. Now, when we’re far away from home, witnessing a spectacular site—or maybe just wanting to send our love—we snap a picture of wherever we are and send a text. Maybe even a video. Convenient, sure. But what are you going to do: show your grandkids a box of old texts?

14 Comments

Jeremiah Dowling

17

Jeremiah Dowling commented…

I love the fact that I just got lost last night because I didn't have a smartphone!!

Jaimee Halstead

1

Jaimee Halstead commented…

No these aren't true. I still do all of them. I play drinking games with cards, video games, chased down the ice cream truck last week with the neighbor hood kids. We have 2 that go down our street. My daughter is always outside. I still read real books for myself and to my kids. Theres always some paperwork to do. I get lost all the time, miss a turn, directions take me down a road that's blocked off.... Mobile maps take me to crazy places. I listen to Preston and Steve every morning on WMMR and I love sending postcards. It's a great easy way to remember a trip and let people know you think about them. Maybe it's just me but this article isn't good.

Brian Moser

3

Brian Moser commented…

1) I have all of my mom's old recipes in her recipe box and when I want to use one I pull it out. Having been a chef, I'm pretty good at just going with it and not needing any recipe from anyone. 2) We still play Uno and Skip-Bo card games. 3) Who even has a tape player to make a "mix tape?" Going to all digital music has nothing to do with my iPhone. 4) Never played Mario Cart, always looked dumb to me but I still play video games on PS3, my preferred platform. 5) I still see a lot of kids out playing in the neighborhood for hours when the weather is nice and there's no school. 6) The ice cream truck isn't allowed in our sub-division due to a no solicitation policy and besides, anyone can drive an ice cream truck, even pedophiles, no thanks, we'll keep going to Cold Stone and Dairy Queen. 7) Still listen to the radio some but I have Pandora One (commercial free) and I prefer to listen to non-stop music with no talking and no commercials. That's why I pay $3.99 per month. Don't need an iPhone to use it in the car over the sound system, any smart phone will do. 8) I never was a book reader but I still enjoy holding an actual newspaper in my hands. 9) I've never been lost, only misplaced. I don't always use my GPS because I prefer to just drive and figure it out as I go. 10) I don't send "postcards" per se but I do send "thinking of you cards."

Erik

2

Erik commented…

It's always funny to me when people slam an article like this. It's not true for EVERYBODY, but it certainly does point out how our culture has changed.

Amy Reyes

12

Amy Reyes commented…

There's no app yet that will replace a good old-fashioned Bridge or Spades tournament. Or Farkle/Greed. Those are games you still need other people to best enjoy. We may play them less, and teach them to the younger generation less (I say as if I'm not young myself), but they're still fun and not easily replaced . . . And though I check facebook or pinterest some times when I'm waiting, I also almost always have at least one print book on me at all times to read while waiting. I read print all the time because ebooks just don't do it for me and never have. They make my eyes hurt in some formats, and in all formats it doesn't have the same tangible and visceral feeling that reading a slightly musty tome borrowed from the library or a childhood favorite off my bookshelf. I'll always prefer print - even though I've made some room for ebooks too.

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