Living in Perpetual Airplane Mode

Over at The Verge, Paul Miller wrote a piece I can connect to on a spiritual level, Life in airplane mode.

He chronicles a struggle I know all too well, the struggle of having a phone that is effectively useless without the internet. But really, it’s less of a struggle and more of a lifestyle you accommodate to. When I got my first phone over a decade ago, a Motorola Razr fliphone1, it was a credit phone, and when I got my first smartphone, the iPhone 3GS, it was also a credit phone. Even today I still have credit, and I have no desire to move onto a plan.

But really, I don’t feel as disadvantaged by this as the cliché teenage girls would be. The amount of time I actually spend away from a reliable internet source is marginal on a weekday, less than an hour on a normal day. And what do I do with my phone during periods? I read articles I’ve saved in Instapaper, I write in iA Writer, I edit photo’s in Snapseed. Instead of inanely browsing witty quotes on Twitter, or attention grabbing headlines on Facebook, or looking at quite cool stuff on Reddit, I’m actually doing something productive. Or I might ditch my phone altogether and read a book, or just observe the life going on around me.

The two disadvantages to this lifestyle are, of course, the lack of connection. In the rare times I’m not in range of a reliable internet source, I can’t contact anyone. But this is a minor and obvious point, I’m always at an internet point. The other disadvantage is that I can’t play Fate/Grand Order on the go, one of the few mobile games I play2, as it requires an active internet connection.

But really, the small disadvantages to this is tiny in the overall grand scheme. I’ve had credit plans with insanely large amounts of data and texts on them, but to be honest it’s hardly even an issue for me. When you’re out and about, In between swinging between WiFi spots like a modern hipster Tarzan, you actually do normal stuff. You’re not waiting for an email or a Discord notification. No, you’re simply going about your life like a normal person.


  1. Which I gave to my Grandad three years ago. He still uses it to this day, barring a brief period in between where he tried to use an iPhone 4S. And god, when I first gave it to him all he would do is play Billiards on it until three in the morning. 
  2. And uh, I’ve also gotten into Pakka Pets lately. Fun game, especially if you never stopped loving Tamagotchi’s like I did. 

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