A Night Out: iPhone, Therefore I Am

ERIC LIM/New University

I have a confession to make: I want an iPhone 4. Really badly. It’s come between my cell phone and me; our relationship is just not the same anymore. I am no longer satisfied with its just-the-basics features.

My current cell is about the size of my palm, is a pretty blue color and is most definitely a step up from my previous cell phone … but it just doesn’t compare to the sleek design of an iPhone 4, nor does it have nearly as many bells and whistles.

The thing is, the iPhone is just one of those things I want but don’t really need. Sure, I would be able to take pictures with it, then edit and tweet them from wherever I happened to be. Sure, it would let me access Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes anytime I wanted.

With the iPhone, I could be informed about the best restaurants nearest me or the highest rated movies at all times.
But that all begs the question: what’s happened to our sense of adventure? Before smart phones existed, did we just twiddle our thumbs when we were out of things to do?

I, for one, have made amazing memories without the aid of an iPhone or Blackberry.

Sure, there were times when my friends and I could have used the vast wealth of information from the Internet while we were out and about, but we always managed to make do with what we had. Much of the time, it was what we did out of our boredom that led to some of the best times we had together.

We wandered around our city and discovered hole-in-the-wall restaurants that we absolutely loved but might never have heard about if we’d relied solely on the Internet.

We watched some pretty terrible movies but also ones that the critics at Rotten Tomatoes might have hated but we loved — “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist” was one that we stumbled across at a local theatre and, over the years, it has brought us hours upon hours of laughter.

With all this technology at our hands, we forget just how new and novel it is. The very first smartphone was released to the public in 1993 — but, even then, its functions were limited and its bulk discouraged buyers.

It wasn’t until the first BlackBerry was released in 2002 that smartphones really took off, though their consumer base was still pretty limited.

In 2002, I was preparing to enter high school and was just receiving my very first cell phone, a brick-like thing that was too big to comfortably fit in my pocket.

Think about it: our parents didn’t grow up with the Internet. Many were married with children before they even had a computer or a cell phone. I still remember when my parents bought their first cell phone, about 14 years ago.

It was only slightly smaller than our landline phone and its battery life was so short that my mom had to carry its charger around with her. But our parents still did things, as much as that may blow our minds.

They ate out without knowing whether the restaurant was rated highly. They watched movies without checking to see what hundreds of people thought. They used maps and got lost and still found their way.

It seems nearly unfathomable nowadays. And maybe it is. The Internet and the smartphone have changed the way we do things — for better or worse.

The technology we have now has become a crutch, aiding us in our ever-present need to be doing something at all times and knowing how fun or good that activity is going to be. I know people who are joined at the hip to their smartphones and won’t do anything or go anywhere without consulting the Internet for advice.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is definitely a good thing. The Internet is something that I would be hard-pressed to live without. The cell phone is a helpful and useful tool.

What I’m saying is that maybe it would be a good thing to turn off that smartphone every once in a while and have an adventure.

Go into a restaurant or watch a movie without knowing what millions of other people think about it. Or, when you run out of things to do, just be. Your smartphone could give you ideas of what to do but, sometimes, it’s being bored with friends that can bring you priceless memories.