(Maude update: She’s doing a little better these days, actually. She’s less lethargic, more playful and active. Not puppy playful and active, mind you, but an improvement over the last few weeks. I definitely don’t think it’s time yet. Here’s a video of her playing with Moki awhile back. You can see she’s not super active, but she still gets involved! Looks like Brendan was watching Portlandia.)

So, I don’t have a smartphone. I know, I know, I’m the last person on earth without one. Even my sister, who lags behind on most new technology, has a smartphone. Brendan has a smartphone, his parents have smartphones, everyone I know has a smartphone. Except me!

(Well, and my parents. I mentioned once that maybe just one of them should have a smartphone in case they get lost on one of their road trips, but my mom said, “We have a GPS!” and I let it go. I don’t feel bad about not having a smartphone, but if my parents get one before me, I might.)

Well, I do have Brendan’s old iPhone, but it’s not set up as a phone. It’s just an internet device I can use whenever there’s wi-fi. My friend Suneet calls it my iPhone Touch, which amuses me. My actual phone is a Nokia candy bar. I bought it a few years ago when my third flip phone crapped out on me. I walked into T-Mobile, handed them the broken phone, and said, “I want the dumbest non-flip phone you have. If it has texting, talking, and an alarm clock, that’s what I want.” And that’s what they gave me. It’s worked perfectly for at least three or four years now. *knocks on wood*

Why don’t I activate my iPhone Touch already? There are a couple of reasons. One, it’s an AT&T phone and I have T-Mobile. Do I want to switch carriers? Get the phone unlocked and keep my current carrier? I can’t decide, and it bores me to think about. My current phone bill is impossibly low, which is also a factor. I have unlimited texting and 200 monthly minutes, and that’s all I really need. Adding data to that would raise my bill, and I’m not made of money right now.

The main reason, though, is that if I got a smartphone, I’m afraid it would change the way I wait for things. These days when I’m in the auto shop waiting room having my oil changed, I read a book. If I don’t have a book, I check out some of the old crappy magazines. If there aren’t magazines, I surreptitiously look around at the other people, or watch the mechanics at work. When I’m not the driver on car trips, I look out the window. When I take the dogs outside to pee, I watch them sniff the grass and amble around, or I watch the people at the nearby bus stop.

I think that if I got a smartphone, I would stop doing all those things. I’d stop being in the moment and use my phone instead. I hate that phrase, “be in the moment,” but I think it applies here. It’s during those little moments of down time that I get my best thinking done. When would I get my best thinking done if I had a smartphone to pull out instead?

I was going to write a paragraph here about how I think it’s so rude when people are on their phones all the time! Do you actually want to be out at dinner with your friends, or should you just have stayed home and played Candy Crush Saga or whatever the fuck you’re doing while waiting for the appetizers to arrive? But you’ve heard it all before, right? I know you have. I’ve written it before, too.

You’re going to tell me, why don’t you just get a smartphone and then not pull it out while you’re waiting for things? That’s a good point, but I don’t think I could help it. I’ve never been much for self-control. My staring-into-space time is precious to me, and I don’t want to jeopardize it even a little.

I’ve had this post in the back of my mind for awhile, but it came up to the front of my mind when I went tubing over the weekend, and one of the girls in our group was using her phone! In her tube! On the river! She had a beer in one hand and her iPhone in the other. Holy shit, was that ever ridiculous.

5 thoughts on “stupidphone

  1. I have a smartphone, and while I do indeed pull it out when waiting for something (including stoplights, even if it’s just a couple seconds, which is stupid), it was access to email that caused me to develop the habit, not the internet. If I didn’t have several accounts I had to check for work, I don’t think I would have progressed to scrolling through Instagram or Twitter while sitting around. Or at least not as quickly.

  2. “one of the girls in our group was using her phone! In her tube! On the river! She had a beer in one hand and her iPhone in the other. Holy shit, was that ever ridiculous.”

    This has me laughing. Yes, that is ridiculous. I just want to scream at people to put their phones down and be in the moment! Last week I saw a couple go out for lunch and they were both on their phones for at least half the meal. Why bother being out with other people? Why not stay home and just be on the phone with them? I think you’re completely reasonable not wanting a smartphone and good for you!

  3. Totally get you on this one. I deactivate my Facebook when I’m not in between class terms. Not because I want to come off like a hermit, but because I know myself better than to buy into the delusion that I can just log out and not log in for eight weeks at a stretch. Deactivating the account is sort of like putting something in a safe deposit box; I can always dust it off when it’s time, but the minor hassle related to getting to it is sufficient deterrent.

  4. I’m so very glad to hear it’s not quite Maude’s time.

    If you don’t want a smartphone, so what? Don’t get one! :) No judging here. I’m on mine waaaaaay too much. If your quality of life is better without it, then you don’t need it.

    But to be honest, if I’m waiting somewhere (and not juggling the kids), I’m usually reading on my phone. The overdrive app has changed my life – I can access my library & check out books. It’s AWESOME because 1. I am a voracious reader and 2. I am not made of money so I can’t justify buying lots of ebooks. I do still get plenty of regular books at the library, but it’s really nice to always have a book with me.

  5. Hi Alison, I’ve been thinking about this for a while too. I actually think I’m going to upgrade to one this semester, as I’m frustrated with how my cellphone keypad for texting is less responsive and I too often receive message that are all symbols or 3-7 texts with chopped and incomprehensible parts of a message from someone who has no 160 character limit. Also, the memory on my phone doesn’t let me keep enough texted photos, my phone’s pictures are really limited (and smart phone pics come out great), and people can email smart phone pics.
    I think I won’t get apps though. I’d like to avoid most or all. I completely agree with your view on the massive significance of just being in the moment. Walk the dog, not the smartphone. I saw that yesterday. Watch the sunrise, don’t check sports statistics or something.
    When I am hanging out with someone, I often silence my phone or ignore messages/calls. It makes me mad to see people eating out “together” when both are silent and in their smartphone worlds. Still, with just a texting phone, I am prone to checking or writing messages when in the elevator or in line or something. (Just not when with a friend). I think the only thing I can promise myself is not to be worse than that. I’ve mainly wanted to avoid the internet world on my phone, and I hope I will ignore it even if I do upgrade.
    Anyhow, this post was a good one and it resonated with me. :O)

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