If you need more proof that our phones keep getting smarter but our brains keep getting dumber, just try to remember someone’s number other than your own.
And no, your mom doesn’t count. It’s easy to forget things that our phones do for us everyday, which is just one of the myriad reasons why we have separation anxiety whenever we (God forbid) leave it home. You can’t get anywhere, you can’t reach anyone and now your friend thinks you hate her because you didn’t wish her a happy birthday. It’s a mess.
In the spirit of being self-aware — and hopefully to prevent these things from leaving our minds forever — here’s a look at just seven things you probably forgot how to do.
1. Phone numbers: You used to be able to cite all your closest friends’ and family’s phone number by heart. Now you have to look up your own significant other’s number in your phone when asked to write down an emergency contact.
2. Birthdays: Does a generic ‘Happy birthday’ message on someone’s wall really mean anything when a push notification made you do it? Or how about when Facebook tells you it’s like five people’s birthdays and you just wish them all a happy birthday at once. Where’s the genuine sentiment in that?
3. Long division: Remember when your middle school math teacher said you need to learn this stuff because you’re not going to carry a calculator around with you at all times? Well, try remembering how to divide numbers on paper and you’ll be thankful that literally every cell phone comes with a calculator app. Figuring out the tip? There’s an app for that. Dividing bills between roommates? There’s an app for that.
4. How to write a check: Thanks to Paypal, Apple Pay and apps like Venmo, paper checks are becoming part of the analog past. Do you have to write ‘and zero cents’ on the amount line? And you’re telling me I have to physically go to the bank?
5. How to write in cursive: You might be able to sign your name all right, but try writing a lowercase, cursive ‘K’ or ‘Z’ and you’ll think it looks all wrong. Kids today don’t even have to learn cursive in some schools, which is a bit sad. We all had to suffer through it so why shouldn’t they? But in all likelihood, texting classes will be the next big thing and we’ll soon evolve to have long, muscular thumbs as our primary communication digit.
6. Giving directions: If someone invites you to meet them at a bar or restaurant and the first question you have is, ‘How do I get there?’ you probably won’t like your friend’s response. Okay, a simple ‘What train is it near?’ is acceptable, but you know you’re just going to have to Google it to get the exact directions. The same goes for giving directions to strangers who stop you on the street. Chances are, if they’re asking, they either don’t have their phone on them, it’s dead, or they’re using some impossible maps application.
7. How to wait out someone: Instead of someone saying, ‘Meet me by the fountain at 3:00’, and you not hearing from them until you meet them there, you now receive up-to-the-minute updates from the person you’re going to meet and will know their exact location. You can barely remember what it’s like to have to stand around silently, looking at nothing in particular and letting your thoughts wander because you’re too busy listening to a podcast, playing Candy Crush and tracking your friend’s whereabouts. Did that cute stranger just say hi to you? Who cares, you just got a new Tinder match.