Some Anecdotes of My Analog Life

I paid a short trip to Chicago and Iowa City to see my friends dated back to our kindergarten age last weekend. Several anecdotes during my journey reminded me just how amusing those analog tools could be in our life.

An analog watch

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My flight to Chicago was due to arrive at around 8 a.m., I got up very early and could do nothing but sleep during the flight. At one time, I wore up and checked my Timex with a glimpse; I found it was already well over 8 o’clock. Weird. At the same time, the girl sitting next to me asked me about the remaining flying time; I told her we were landing soon despite my confusion over the schedule. Confusing while still sleepy, I closed my eyes again. After the plane finally hitting the tarmac and taxing along the pavement, I turned off the Flight Mode of my phone and noticed a subtle jump of the number of the clock: the 9 a.m. changed into 8 a.m. suddenly. Then I realized that Chicago might probably belong to a different time zone, which is 1 hour lagging behind East Coast. I told the girl next to me I was sorry for the wrong ETA I gave her. She said it was OK and praise the magic of GPS in our cell phone which can switch to the local time automatically.

But moments later, I was happy with the Timex I brought with me: while all my smart gadgets have covertly changed to the local time, the analog watch doesn’t change at all. Therefore I can keep the New York time within an arm, in a glimpse, which is super convenient for me to collaborate with my project team and also have a rough idea of what my girlfriend was doing before texting.My flight to Chicago was due to arrive at around 8 a.m., I got up very early and could do nothing but sleep during the flight. At one time, I wore up and checked my Timex with a glimpse; I found it was already well over 8 o’clock. Weird. At the same time, the girl sitting next to me asked me about the remaining flying time; I told her we were landing soon despite my confusion over the schedule. Confusing while still sleepy, I closed my eyes again. After the plane finally hitting the tarmac and taxing along the pavement, I turned off the Flight Mode of my phone and noticed a subtle jump of the number of the clock: the 9 a.m. changed into 8 a.m. suddenly. Then I realized that Chicago might probably belong to a different time zone, which is 1 hour lagging behind East Coast. I told the girl next to me I was sorry for the wrong ETA I gave her. She said it was OK and praise the magic of GPS in our cell phone which can switch to the local time automatically.

An analog perpetual calendar

AN - 1 (2)Photo: Courtesy of Parker Pen Company

One of my habits is to have a pen sitting within the arm slot of my flying jacket, and I was carrying a Parker Jotter with a built-in manual perpetual calendar during this trip.

When I was waiting for my friend at the ticket center of the Shedd Aquarium, this very pen I pulled out for writing down the places in Chicago successfully got the attention of the clerk, Matt, who was helping me at that time. Matt was quite intrigued by the mechanism behind the calendar functionality while I was also happy to find the first people who can spot the uniqueness in this ball point. After demonstrating the way to adjust and use the calendar to him, I gave that pen as a gift to him since I still have additional ones. Then came a moment of truth, Matt revealed to me his second profession—he is also a writer and a blogger, writing things related to the city of Chicago. Good, another writer, connected!

An analog reminder/phone heater

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It has been well known that an iPhone or iPad could quickly get shut down in a cold outdoor situation. And unfortunately, this HAD became a real problem for me since I had no car and the time spent on the streets was longer than my phone’s endurance.

The first time, when I was going to receive a phone call from my Uber driver after killing the night with my friend, my phone died out and forced the driver canceled the trip. The second time, when we were heading to the old capital of the Iowa City after getting off the bus, my phone died out, and we have to navigate by asking pedestrian in a small city where there were hardly any.

The solution? I don’t like any chunky or fluffy phone case, nor could I get a car right away. So the only solution seems to be just putting my phone in my bag every time I get outside. But on Sunday afternoon, at a designer shop in the downtown of Iowa, I saw an adhesive writing pad for the Plus size of iPhone and realized it might just be the treatment to cure the syndrome. It comes with four pads of yellow adhesive notes in the shape of the back of an iPhone, with the camera and flashlight window carved out. The 20 pages of paper stick to the back did prevent the instant loss of thermal energy from the aluminum chassis during the rest of my trip. Its principal duty was the ability to resist the cold wind in the first 5 minutes I got outside, thereby postpone the triggering the self-guard function of the battery, leaving a precious time window for me to get into my Uber, bus or simply walk to my next destination with my Google Map in hand.

Besides, the pad itself just beats up all the reminder apps I have ever installed in my phone: an edge-to-edge blank canvas that I can post everywhere, and always on no matter how harsh the weather is.

The ultimate tips to carry the king of analog

Finally, there is another huge leap of my analog lifestyle—I had fully mastered the skill to carry fountain pens with me during flights! For those who have followed my Instagram may have noticed before I have conducted a flying test during my spring break trip, and what I didn’t tell at that time was that all of them failed my expectation except for the old school Aurora 88.

During this trip to Chicago, I have developed and proven some tricks to bring a fountain pen safely during a domestic flight. The pens I was carrying were a Meisterstück 146 from Mont Blanc and a Model 66 Stabilis from Franklin-Christoph. For the 146, although it was designed for the hectic lifestyle of businesspeople, it did leak a lot last time for the tank was full of ink that morning. And for the 66, I was aware that it is never a good idea to bring a large eyedropper into a cabin and I got a flooding of ink when I was attempting to use it during the cruising stage. The cure? This time I tried to keep the ink in this two pens less than half of its full capacity and swung the pens with their tail pointing outward gently for several times before taking off. By this method, none of them leaked during the flight, and I can enjoy writing with them along with my trip without all the hustling to keep the ink from taint my hands and cloth!

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