That was basically all you could do, thanks to Alexander Graham Bell's good old invention.
But now, you can practically live your entire life on your phone. You can order groceries, set up appointments, keep up-to-date on social media, binge-watch your favorite TV show and surf the Web to your heart's content -- or rather, until your battery runs out.
Sometimes, I can't help but think the term "smartphone" is a misnomer. Walk down the street and chances are, you'll see most people walking with their heads down, eyes glued to those little screens. Remember when I talked about my smartphone addiction a couple years ago? Well, something tells me there's one person who might need to read that post again: My mother. She got an iPhone a few years ago (I'm still a loyal Android lover...), and since then, she become worse than her 7th grade students. She's on that phone...all...the...time.
A typical conversation in our house, albeit, a mostly one-sided one...
"Are you listening?" I'll ask her, my frustration level building by the second. "I'm going to throw that thing out the window...!!!!"I fully confess that I've also become one of those people, though rest assured that I don't go on my phone while I'm driving my wheelchair. But I do find it hard to resist the allure of my phone, especially when it glows all shiny and bright to tell me I've got email or a new text waiting for me. Ever since I became a full-fledged, smartphone-carrying person of the future, I've been astonished at just how quickly those "little moments" can add up to huge time sucks. Five minutes checking celebrity news while waiting in line at Target. Twenty minutes scrolling through Facebook and Instagram while lying in bed on a Saturday morning. Ten minutes answering emails -- OK, sometimes while I'm simultaneously brushing my teeth. But in my defense, the email was really, really important... ;)
Thankfully, though, two apps have come to the rescue (Are you reading this, Mom...?). Moments tracks the number of minutes you've been on your phone, while Checky shows you how many times per day you've checked your phone.
[I Forgot My Phone video via NPR, illustration by Anna Sudit]