Sure, I am safe and secure in the Jewel of the Hocking right now (if that nickname isn't copyrighted now then I call "dibs"), but the trip to get here wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. For the first couple of hours, things ran smoothly. Twinsburg turned into Macedonia which turned into Route 8 which turned into Route 77 which turned into a long and boring but smooth journey. I was was riding shotgun in my girlfriend's car while she diligently followed the instructions of her Garmin's British delivery. Admittedly, I was a little emasculated by this little box one upping me with its navigation prowess (in a British accent, no less) but I made my peace with it.
Then, around the 3/4 point of the journey, Garmin decided that it was done with the highway and ordered us to pull off into winding country roads. How country? Well, I knew we were in the sticks when Garmin had us turn right at a house with a rusted pick-up out front onto an uphill road that was all gravel. "Continue straight ten miles," Garmin's British dominatrix commanded. My girlfriend gripped the wheel so tight that her knuckles looked like they were trying to escape her skin and we both silently prayed that her ancient Kia Sephia wouldn't break down from all the rocks being skipped into its engine (score one for Korean engineering: it didn't)
In the end, Garmin hadn't gone "Skynet" on us and led us to our certain doom, instead it brought us home to Athens, albeit in a circuitous path. But true to that wise man's old adage, I discovered something very traumatic about myself on that journey: I am completely worthless without a cell-phone.
You see, I kept my cool throughout the whole ordeal as Garmin did its best to kill us. I was fine with everything...until I looked at my cell-phone and saw that I had no service. Immediately I felt naked and exposed. The world went from seeming like a benign little place where everyone is there to lend a helping hand to an enormous uncontrollable jungle where danger lurks at every corner and I have no map, no weapon and no food. It was then that I realized just how much I had come to rely on this little tool and how lost I was without it. If Garmin led us astray and I had cell-phone access, I could simply log online to look for other directions, call local services for directions, text my mom to look up directions from a street address on Map Quest or simply listen to some music until I got back on track. But when I thought about what I could do without a cell-phone, the only option that came to mind was "get lost, starve to death and have remains eaten by vultures."
But now I am back in society and am attending classes again. Surely, I have no pressing need for a cell-phone in such a small, urban environment. I thought so too but this morning during my first class of the new quarter, the professor informed us that use of a cell-phone would be completely prohibited in that classroom and I panicked again. I didn't think I would get lost in the class, starve to death and have my remains eaten by vultures but I did feel distinctly uncomfortable not having access to my phone for a 2 hour period.
I suppose I should be shocked and disgusted by society's reliance on technology, cell-phones in particular, but I am actually fine with it. From the dawn of time, humanity has created technology to make tasks easier and their lives less complicated. I can't think of a better example of a "simplifier" than cell-phones. As long as my cell-phone is in working order, I am a relatively happy camper. I have immediate access to the outside world in my pocket as long as it is on. It is only when my battery is running low, or I am in a situation that precludes me from using my phone that I begin to feel distressed. And I can definitely live with that kind of simplicity: device on; calm, device off; distressed.
Should I live a painful and exposed life at the hands of Earth, humanity and fate or should I just have my happiness dictated by a little magic box that stays in my pocket?
Let me kill the suspense: I prefer the latter.