The progress of a bad day (without a mobile phone)

Yesterday, just before reaching the suburban railway station, starting my daily commute to work, I realized that I forgot my mobile phone at home. I had two choices: either to go back home and spend precious time or to move on without it. I chose the latter. Let’s see how a day without a mobile phone would evolve.

The scenery at the station was lovely: cold weather, windy and drizzling while the mountains far away were already covered in thick clouds. I usually take a couple of shots per day there, and this would be a really nice opportunity. However, I couldn’t do so without my mobile phone’s camera…

I found my usual seat inside the train and as soon as I got seated, I reached for my mobile phone to check out the RSS feeds I downloaded earlier in the morning using my home’s Wi-Fi (I do not have a mobile data plan). This is the best way to start your day, reading news about technology, work and leisure. However, I soon realized that I do not have my mobile phone with me – at least I had a book in my backpack, so I started reading. I also tried to remember of any meetings that I had for today as I usually use my online calendar, always synced with my mobile phone. I could not recall any meetings, and if there were any, I would have trouble keeping myself busing during them without my mobile phone.

I reached my destination, somewhere in the north part of Attica. It was already snowing there; a sight not common for Attica. Cars started getting this bright white color of snow, the pavements received a thin layer of tiny snowflakes. Ideal subject for taking photos but still I did not have my mobile phone.

I reached the office and settled down; I am always the first to get there and this was the case today. As soon as I entered the kitchen to brew my typical morning espresso, I realized that there was no light there. I opened up all window shades and tried to switch on the espresso machine but there was no power. I took a peek at the fridge – no power there as well. I am not the most skilled electrician but still I reached the fuse box and tried switching on some fuses that were off. No reaction – half of the office remained without electricity. The landlord dropped by and let me know that indeed the whole building was left without electricity (in fact, half of it), and that he had already called the electricity company about that. He suggested that I did the same, in order to highlight the issue of not having power in a company (like ours). I tried to do so, but both phones are cordless and they were out of order due to lack of electricity. I tried moving on of them to another power outlet but the phone line cable was too short to reach. Then I though “Ok, I can call them using my mobile phone”, only to realize that I did not have my mobile phone with me…

I gave up and powered up my laptop; I had electricity in my office. Out of habit, I tried downloading my emails but the wired connection did not provide internet access. I said “Ok, let’s try the wireless one” but it was out of order, too. Both ADSL modem/routers were left without electricity. I tried to send an SMS through the web, asking colleagues to hurry to the office and help sort things out but of course without routers there is no internet…

I took a look through the office’s window and saw the snowflakes slowly falling on the ground, the trees of the nearby park and on the rooftops of the parked cards. What a lovely subject for a photo – it only made me wish I hadn’t left my mobile phone at home.

Then I thought that this is indeed a bad day so the least I could do would be to blog about it – I knew that I couldn’t reach my WordPress-powered blog without electricity/internet connection, so my second thought was to use Simplenote for that; alas, it also required internet connection! I gave up. Entirely. I fired up MS Word and started typing this post. After almost finalizing it, I recalled that I had the Evernote desktop version installed and I could have used it for drafting my blog post! If there was any single way for me to have made a tiny cup of coffee without electricity, things might have been better…damn bad day!

Electricity was restored a couple of hours later. In the meantime, a colleague of mine (and a good friend) announced that she’s quitting for another position (probably better). I tried to reach for my phone to get a selfie with her as a piece of memory (this is how I like to call them), but of course the phone was not there.

Throughout the day we got a really nice snowfall and I kept asking my colleagues to take some photos of it – I am not sure if I will ever receive these photos but I am sure that I would have made them in a different way. Later I wanted to see how my latest Instagram photo was doing but it was not possible (only through the lousy Instagram web interface).

During a meeting I found myself playing with anything that was around on the table – only to realize that I actually needed to get my hands on my phone!

While commuting back home, I really missed checking out the new RSS feeds through my phone and editing some photos on the fly; something I usually do after a hard day at the office.

The day ended. I reached home and found my mobile phone. WiFi was turned off and I had no calls nor messages. I made a couple of urgent calls, checked out Instagram, browsed my RSS feeds and then everything went back to normal.

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A missed photographic opportunity…

I went for a walk with my girlfriend at the center of Athens on Saturday evening. The weather was pretty nice, despite the wind and the rather low temperature… at least it was sunny!

On my way to the metro station I was wondering whether I should have taken my Olympus with me (Ε-300, in its bag along with my lenses and paraphernalia) . “Never mind” I though, “that bag is rather heavy… and my girlfriend will complain if I don’t concentrate on her, enjoy our time together and take photos instead”. So I kept walking, took the metro, we met at the center just before sunset and we started walking towards the Syntagma square.

Unfortunately, Murphy’s law found a cozy place in my life for once more! I could see the magnificent colors of the sky at Klafthmonos square, the impressive shadows of the statues, people walking up and down the street full of bags, so I almost regret not taking my Olympus with me!

It started drizzling… we found shelter at a bus stop for a while, waiting for the drizzle to stop. I was watching people rushing now, holding their umbrellas, the pools next to the sidewalk: Ideal subjects for photography but my dSLR was at home, in its bag…

After a while we got bored waiting at the same spot, so we decided to rush toward Syntagma square since the rain was getting stronger and stronger. We sat at the McDonald’s to eat something and to wait until the rains stopped. I was watching people outside the glass, some foreigners picking up the bags they were selling from the sidewalks, people running up and down the street, the open umbrellas, beautiful subjects for photography, but my dSLR was at home, in its bag…

Finally the rain stopped, so we walked to the metro station without having enjoyed our walk and without me having taken a single photo! I was mad at everyone at that time:

  • At Olympus, for making my E-300 thick as a brick an not slim as Ε-410!
  • At Olympus for not producing a pancake lens as Pentax, so as to reduce the volume and weight of the Ε-300!
  • At the Digital Photography industry for producing just one digital TLR (telemetric/rangefinder – the Epson R-D1 Digital RangeFinder) , which may be slim and light but it costs a lot…
  • At me for being lazy and not willing to learn the basics about analog cameras.
  • At society, for not giving me the chance to buy a decent compact for such occasions or even to afford developing films

The only good thing that happened that day was Tassos’s Pagonis photography exhibition at Syntagma metro station, titled Shapes, Colors, Earth“: Simple and beautiful photos, familiar subjects and interesting point of view. That was enough to made my day!