20-Something Questions How We Handled Life Before Cell Phones, Proves Cell Phones Are Making Us Useless

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11. How did your survive waiting for meetings, appointments, trains, or anything without being able to pass time by pretending to look busy on your phone?

Books. Magazines. Actually making small talk with other humans.

12. How did you do ANYTHING at work before email?

A lot of in-person meetings and note taking. On paper. With pens.

13. How did you tell co-workers (or someone else you were meeting) that you were going to be late when you were stuck in traffic or stuck on some disabled subway car?

People on the whole were probably just more patient. And there were probably a lot less BS excuses being sent.

14. How did you sign up for classes at the gym?

There were sign-up sheets. On paper. You used a pen. First come, first served.

15. How did you know where you were or where you were going ever?

You paid more attention. You walked a few more blocks in the wrong direction. You asked people on the street for help.

16. What did you have to do if you broke down on the side of the road?

Hope for the kindness of strangers and that there was a close pay phone. Highways had “call boxes.”

17. How did you always have change on you to use these pay phones?

Everyone used to carry change, because they always had it, because they weren’t using debit cards for everything.

18. How did you research anything for school?

The library. Using the actual card catalogue. You had to check out heavy books and carry them home. You can be thankful you missed that. It was tedious.

19. How did you find out about the weather?

The news.

20. How did you stay in touch with friends?

You actually called them on the phone. Facebook “likes” are not the same thing as actually speaking to a live human, so this part was really nice.

The writer has a good sense of humor about it — she doesn’t seem genuinely confused about these questions. But they really made me think about how useless cellphones are making us all. I think we could perform under pressure and be resourceful if we needed to, but when you look at these questions, you see that cellphones have really made us all less social, less risk averse, and less resourceful.

Is there any going back?

(photo: Getty Images)

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