Taking Stock - August 4, 2014

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I’ll be the first to admit I can’t do without my phone.

It’s like a window on the world, keeping me in touch with the latest news, with my friends, the fortunes of my football club and so much more.

It’s handy for telling the time, for waking me up, for listing to the radio and for cheating at pub quizzes.

But you never realise quite what a shackle it can be until you turn it off.

That’s what I did this week - just for two days.

I should explain the phone didn’t get switched off during work time - that would be far too foolish as it’s still my first point of contact for virtually everyone I know.

No, this was holiday time and having corralled the brood onto a cross-channel ferry in order to meet The Mouse, I decided it was time to do without the ball and chain that lives in my pocket.

So into the safe it went.

And for the first few hours I was terrified.

What if I’m needed? What if someone desperately has to speak to me?

Then I realised the only people I actually needed to be in touch with were in the same room.

After about half a day I wasn’t really fussed with the latest transfer gossip or what was landing in my email.

And, do you know what, it felt good.

Admittedly there were plenty of distractions to keep my mind off the mobile.

But, having freed myself, if only for a few fleeting moments, I couldn’t help but feel smug as I watched others glued to their screens - friends saying nothing to each other as they stood inches apart - in the line for Big Thunder Mountain.

It’s amazing to think, once upon a time, not so long ago, that’s just how it was.

If you were out, you were out - if you had an answering machine somebody left a message, if you didn’t, well, they’d have to wait.

There’s no denying the freedom mobile technology has given us.

You can take the information from millions of books and the views of a million idiots anywhere with you, in your pocket.

If you’re lost it can guide you, if you’re bored it can entertain you.

But, you know, just occasionally, it’s nice just to turn the thing off.