I recently spent a long weekend at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. It is a recently renovated hotel overlooking Lake Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park. It is a lovely spot. Their very popular dining room requires reservations far in advance, and there’s a piano player in the lobby. The original design features are well-preserved.
When I asked about WIFI in the hotel, the response was “That’s the second most frequently asked question, right behind asking where the restrooms are located.” The answer is that there is none. My mobile phone had zero bars … no coverage for voice or data. There are no televisions anywhere. Phone calls from the room cost $6.50 per minute (reminds me of traveling in the 1960’s). It makes it a bit like a retreat. Nostalgia for the “good old days” is manifest.
It certainly helped me realize how frequently I make phone calls, text messages, check a map, look-up routine daily information, and depend on people being able to reach me when needed. It is also my primary approach to sharing moments with loved ones.
There was an Ethernet cable in the room that my PC does not have a plug for (they loaned me an adapter) so I checked email and made a Skype call in the evening. How quickly our expectations change. I found it a good experience to increase my awareness of my surroundings. I was also glad when I returned to the connected world.
Apple’s next operating system, due to be available this fall, has features to track, and even limit, your time on phone applications. Addiction to mobile devices is becoming a significant societal concern. I don’t think I’m in the addiction category yet … but I’m probably in the neighborhood.
Based on how many people ask the second-most-asked question at the hotel, I am in good company.