For those who knew me back in Canada, everywhere I went, there was one thing I usually always had: my Blackberry. I was a nerd. I knew a lot about Blackberry’s; how to use them, change their operating systems, new apps that came out, etc etc. In the mornings, I had a program that downloaded all the news articles I wanted, so I could read them on the way to school. It had the internet for when I had a minute or two of downtime here and there, Facebook and Email. I was a huge fan of Blackberry Messenger (BBM), as most people are. It could play movies and music, had a full keyboard and a decent camera. I loved that thing, my CrackBerry.
And, I was always on that thing. My school, the University of Waterloo, shares a lot of campus with RIM, the maker of Blackberry. When I walked home, I walked past 3 or 4 RIM buildings. They were everywhere. That meant, too, that most people had Blackberry’s. It was pretty normal, everyones got one.
Then, on February 18th, I left Canada for South Korea. My Blackberry uses a GSM signal, but in Korea, they only have CDMA. In other words, my phone won’t work here. I knew this before coming over. For my 9 day orientation in Seoul, a lot of people talked about missing their iPhones and Blackberry’s. I agreed. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON!? Reality was… nothing was going on. There usually never was.
Then, finally about 2 weeks later in Samcheok, I got a new cell phone. Because my work visa is only for a year, they would only give me a one year contract. If I wanted a cool phone, it would cost me. So, I payed ₩20,000 for a decent looking LG phone, and that was that. This one is only available in Korea, and the operating system isn’t fully in English. But, it does work. I really only use it for quick texts (keyboard sucks) or calls, and usually just to arrange meeting someone somewhere.
I guess, six months since dropping my ‘berry, I would say it’s a good thing. The New York Times wrote this article on how “Digital devices deprive our brain of needed downtime”. And it’s true. Many of us work on computers at school or work, get home and play on our Berry’s or iPhones, watch TV and again, play on the computer. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and do nothing. Stare at the world. Read a book (a real, paper book). Waiting for a bus? Check your email. Doctor isn’t ready to see you, what’s in the news? Conversation gets boring at dinner… play a game?
Okay, the first two were fine. But, at the dinner table!? Or at lunch? Coffee? I get it, people are calling, messaging, emailing (wasn’t the point of email so you don’t have to reply right away?). Have some etiquette. Here’s a few simple rules to follow. And, students… I SEE YOUR PHONE UNDER THE DESK. And the worst, especially here in Korea where cell phone etiquette is diplorable… GET OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONE AT THE GYM. Sorry for swearing, but it makes me angry. It’s not a place for your phone, do some work.
When I do get back to Canada I’ll likely get a new phone, my Berry will be old news by then. Google Android has some great phones out, Blackberry has some nice ones, and that iPhone 4 is sweet. It’s nice to not always be connected. Email’s don’t have to be answered right away. Facebook will still be there when I get back to my computer. Just please, concentrate on the person in front of you and mind the people around you. I left my phone at home from work today, and I welcomed the silence.