The incomparable Lucy Kellaway wrote recently in the Financial Times of the “joy” she experienced at spending a week without her mobile phone after she left it in an American taxi before boarding a flight that took her hundreds of miles away from the apparently indispensable device.
After an initial panic at being cut off from the internet and all that goes with it, she found an “unaccustomed feeling of freedom”.
Well bravo – as ever – to Lucy, but on the day before her piece appeared, I had an experience that goes down as a nightmare. I was only one day without my iPhone 6, so maybe didn’t have time to acclimatise, but all I could feel were unexpurgated surges of “nomophobia” – the panic that grips you when to have no mobile.
It was early last Sunday, I was preparing to take my daughter to school and then go on to a breakfast meeting. Running some hot water to shave, I laid my phone on the sink. The phone was on “vibrate only” mode, as it always is just after I’ve woken up.
A shout from the kitchen – my daughter couldn’t reach the cornflakes. I busied myself getting out the cereal, pouring it into a bowl and adding milk. It could have been no more than three minutes before I went back to the bathroom.
There was my phone lying at the bottom of a sinkful of soapy hot water. I must have had a call, and the vibrations had made it shimmy over a few centimetres and plop into the sink.
I pulled it out immediately, dripping, and felt an immediate wave of panic. There was no display, no matter how many times I pressed any or all of the buttons. Panic gave way to forlorn helplessness.
My diary was in the phone. I didn’t know where my meeting was. I couldn’t even call my breakfast companion, because I had no working phone and all my numbers were stored on it. I had a number of meetings that day and couldn’t remember details of any of them.
Laptop email made up to some degree, but I only made one meeting out of four that day.
I spend the whole afternoon and evening gently blowing the phone with a hair dryer, trying to coax it back to life like some drowning victim. Which of course it was.
About 10pm that evening, there was a brief flicker of display, then another, then the phone was back on and working again.
Sheer joy. Maybe that waterproof iPhone 7 is a good investment after all.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter