Waiting for the bus this morning, I semi-jokingly asked my roommate, "What did people do at bus stops before the invention of smartphones?" We concluded that they probably actually talked to each other (blech), oh, and also they were waiting for a dinosaur and not a bus because this was millions and millions of years ago. News flash: the first generation iPhone was released in 2007, which, in case you didn't pass 1st grade math, was only 7 years ago. I didn't even have have a smartphone until 2013 and survived just fine. Though I do have one now, I primarily use it for GPS and checking my email on the go. As hard as it seems to believe, not everyone has a tiny computer in their pocket, and even some of the hippest of the hip have yet to make the switch from dumb to smartphone. Let's take a walk down memory lane and reminisce about the best parts of living in the days of yore (pre-2007), shall we?
1. JAMMING OUT TO RINGTONES AND RINGBACK TONES
Ok, sure, some people still have ringtones, but for the most part, keeping your cell on anything but vibrate these days will earn you dirty looks wherever you go. Gettin' down to your favorite jam of the moment while your mom impatiently waited for you to pick up – classic! She never even bothered to thank you for the wonderful hold music in the form of "...Baby, One More Time" that you chose as your ringback tone, like she didn't even care that the loneliness was killing Brit. Rude. Now when she calls, you want to stop that annoying vibration ASAP and answer as quick as you can, which is a lot less fun.
2. ACTUALLY BEING GOOD AT DIRECTIONS
A novel concept, but stay with me here: imagine getting to a new location because you understand how cross streets and address numbers work. Our ancestors used to do this ALL THE TIME! When you didn't have an electronic personal assistant to do all of the work for you, you remembered where things were a lot more, right? I could probably still give directions to my kindergarten best friend's house if pressed, but if you asked me to tell you where I ate dinner last night, I would have to look at my phone's search history.
3. A WORLD (MOSTLY) WITHOUT SELFIES
Turning your Motorola Razr around to snap a pic of you and your bestie just wasn't the same as being able to capture a high quality, front facing photo – it was WAY BETTER. The pictures were grainy, tiny, and couldn't really be shared unless you physically passed your phone around. Ergo, we were enjoying moments more instead of Instagramming dozens of pictures from the same party. Added bonus? You couldn't constantly scrutinize your face, searching for a pimple-to-be. You just let them come and that was that. (At least, until you got home and planted yourself in front of a mirror for 2 hours.)
4. PLAYFUL NONSENSICAL DEBATES WERE POSSIBLE WITHOUT GOOGLE ON-THE-GO
"Is Matthew McConaughey a vegan?" you might wonder. Your friend Amy says yes; Nina says no. Uh-oh, we got ourselves a good, old fashioned debate! (The fun kind, not the Mean Girls kind.) Vehemently arguing about some stupid pop culture factoid is undeniably fun, and a quick way to bond with someone you've just met. Now this conversation can be halted as fast as you can whip your phone out, and then the moment, and the conversation, and the magical spark of conjecture and debate, are dead. (And for the record, I have no idea if MM is a vegan or not. Sorry to leave you hanging.)
5. YOU HADN'T YET SOLD YOUR SOUL TO CANDY CRUSH
Hi, my name is Ali, and I've been Candy Crush sober for 9 months, 6 days, 1 hour, 55 minutes, and 12 seconds. Life is better on the other side: I'm thinking clearly, my appetite has returned, and the tremors are finally starting to fade. In all seriousness, Candy Crush can be a life-ruining, soul-sucking game. People create fake Facebook pages to send themselves new lives, or set their clock ahead on their phone to trick it into giving up new lives. People – It's a game about moving around tiny pieces of fruit. Playing a game on your phone during your morning commute is one thing, but then, of course, people take it to extremes.
6. YOUR DUMB, 140 CHARACTERS-OR-LESS THOUGHTS STAYED IN YOUR HEAD
I'm definitely guilty of tweeting things like, "I wish I could have a sandwich right now," (which is a constant thought in my head) but I usually shamefully delete those tweets later that day. I say shamefully because I realize that no one cares about my lack of sandwich (sob), and feel silly and dumb. And guess what? I am being silly and dumb. No one cares about my food-related plight, just like no one cares that you're "going to see Gone Girl tonight!!!" I'm all for expressing yourself and blah blah blah, but some things are best left unexpressed.
Next time you find yourself in a waiting room, try to remember what your pre-iPhone self would do, and perhaps pick up a book or magazine and PUT YOUR DAMN PHONE DOWN FOR ONCE. Life really wasn't that bad before.
Images: Getty Images; Giphy(6)