Rhiannon Harries: The chargers can't be found, so why won't I give up my old mobiles?

Share
Related Topics

At last count, I owned five mobile phones, two laptops and one PC. It sounds like the inventory one might expect of a City high-flier or exceptionally well-organised adulterer. Except, in my case, it comes with a caveat: the only functional items among that lot are one mobile and half a laptop (no longer connects to the internet, for reasons unknown). The rest remain wedged in cupboards and drawers, simply because somewhere within all those microchips and circuit boards are the traces of hundreds of significant moments from the past decade.

Texts from friends that had me doubled with laughter, a year's worth of emails from a long-distance ex, hundreds of photos that I never got round to printing off... The various chargers and leads are long gone and I haven't actually tried to switch half of them on in years, but somehow I can't consign the lot to oblivion just yet.

Maybe I've been brainwashed by those jingly T-Mobile ads, but my experience of technology is that it brings us closer together in more ways than it drives us apart. Very little lovingly hand-written material may pass through my letterbox these days, but the casual nature and sheer ease of emails and texts have elicited thousands more words from my not-so-near and dear than I could ever have hoped to receive via Royal Mail (certainly at the moment).

The ability to be in constant contact with your loved ones is obviously a blessing. But for the OCD-ish archivist inside me – and I suspect many others – it amounts to the work of Sisyphus as you struggle to keep up with all the priceless one-liners and heartfelt e-missives to create a record for posterity. As soon as one gloriously romantic declaration pops up in your inbox, it is buried by 17 group mails debating which bar to meet in that night.

I'd be happier relying on the natural archiving system within my brain were it not for the fact that, other than my own, I haven't managed to learn a phone number by heart in the past five years. Having relied on the virtual memory of machines for so long, I dread to think how diminished the capacity of my brain might be.

Anyone who's hit "send" on a misjudged or misdirected email will doubtless find it hard to relate to my anxiety at their ephemerality, but historians, too, warn that contemporary methods of communication will leave little trace for future generations to learn about how we live now. I take some comfort in imagining I am doing my bit by shoving all my old phones in a drawer; perhaps some day they will be unearthed on Time Team and provide unparalleled insight into life in noughties Britain. But only if they can find those bloody chargers first.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
The report will embarrass the Home Secretary, Theresa May  

Surprise, surprise: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have 'dropped off' the Home Office’s radar

Nigel Farage
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas