The first cellphone I used was a flip phone Nokia. It was 1998 and there was this amazing experience of being able to call and tell someone I was on my way home. Of course, I’d turn it off in between calls to preserve the battery but it was a really cool experience.
The red LED letters were clear and there was some heft to it. It felt like a piece of military equipment and I marvelled at how I didn’t have to find a payphone.
The phone was loaned to me by my mother who worried about me as I explored Israel by bus as a teenager. On one particular day, I went on a tour of the Haifa power plant. There was one bus that went by on a dusty road every few hours. When the tour was over, I called my mother to let her know that I was on my way. Done.
As a worrier, she knew at least where I was and that information provider her some relief. At least she’d have a lead to tell the police if I went missing.
It’s easy to take for granted how much having a cell phone has taken the stress out of being lost. Those early days of cell phone use, and my first exposure to using the device, reduced a lot of stress and endless hours of having my family potentially worry and plan my funeral in their minds until I had returned home safe.
Hopefully, there will be some new technologies that in 20 years from now we’ll reminisce about. We’ll hopefully talk about their positive impact.