Patrick Murphy

My phone has died, now what do I do in the bathroom?

I have been nursing my iPhone 6 the last few weeks until my new iPhone 12 Pro arrives, and Thursday it finally gave out.

It cannot be charged, which may have something to do with the charger or the battery, I’m not sure, and at this point it doesn’t matter.

So for the next couple weeks I will be using my wife’s old iPad to text and make calls.

I never thought having a mobile phone would be so important.

Phones used to be a way to communicate. That’s it, that’s all they did.

When you were home you made calls or answered calls. If you were out you never knew if someone was trying to call you.

People left their homes and the phones stayed behind. If you missed a call so be it, they would call back if it was important.

Then we got answering machines. If we left the house we came home and checked to see if anyone called and left a message. Pretty ingenious technology. Now we didn’t have to miss calls.

Along came mobile phones. Big, bulky things with antennas. We didn’t have to miss calls because we had this phone we could take with us - as long as we stayed within range of the signal.

Like most technology, we learned to make it smaller.

Phones became mini computers that slipped easily into our pockets.

The iPhone and its imitators became invaluable, and using them to make and receive phone calls became just a small part of what these phones could do.

We take pictures, listen to music, connect on social media, text, make videos, navigate and so much more.

It really is kind of amazing. Computers, which once took up entire rooms, now fit so easily into our hands and can do so much.

What is even more amazing is that the late Steve Jobs, the brain behind the iPhone, knew we would become dependent on these devices.

Everyone has a phone, even people who complain about how complicated they are or lament how they have led to the disintegration of society have a phone in their hand.

Like a lot of inventions, phones were meant to make our lives simpler, not become our lives.

Social media was created to connect us, not overtake personal relationships.

Yet, phones and social media are inseparable. No one buys a phone because they can make calls. They buy phones for everything else they can do. We would rather texts that talk on our phones, and we would rather do either than have face-to-face interactions.

Since coronavirus has forced separation upon us (well some of us) maybe it will make us appreciate getting together, although I’m not optimistic -  at least not enough to make us put down our phones.

I’ll miss having a phone, but I will get by. I can always go back to reading in the bathroom.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.