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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Smart Phone, Dumb Phone

by LJ:

Back in October, I purchased this phone for $30 off eBay in a fit of zealous rage against technology. I never actually succeeded in switching my plan, since my Giant Unnamed Provider told me they'd start charging me more money for less phone, so I stuck with my iPhone 4. I had wanted to break ties with my phone a year after I realized I was being charged an extra $100 a month for the honor of owning an iPhone, but by that time it was too late. I had grown a little charger-shaped umbilical cord to my phone.

I took it everywhere, like a precious object. Whenever I left it in one room, my toddler son would run and get it, proudly proclaiming, "'S Mommy's phone!" and hand it back to me. And I was always, always grateful to have it safely back in my hand.

I drove with it balanced on one leg in case of sudden Internetty emergencies, like refreshing my phone email over and over again at a stoplight. I took it in the bathroom with me. Late at night, my husband and I would lie in bed next to each other and surf the Internet without speaking. It was all very Fahrenheit 451.

I tried to wean myself off my phone by deleting all social media and Candy Crush, but that still left the relentless call of the Internet. Plus, I was doing weird things like checking my financial accounts several times a day just to keep my thumb on that screen.

Fast forward to January. We got stuck coming home from Christmas thanks to a creative scheduling error by United Airlines that had us leaving on our connecting flight two hours before we left our original destination. This combined with the POLAR VORTEX meant we spent two days entertaining our toddler son and infant daughter in two different airports and clinging to sanity by our fingernails.

So now you can understand why in a moment of desperation I gave my crying daughter my iPhone to chew on. It held on bravely for about two hours and then gave up the ghost.

I took my Nokia into the Verizon Unnamed Giant Provider store and asked them to activate it for me. It took the guy 35 minutes on tech support to set up the phone, during which time he told me at least twice he'd never even sold a basic phone. I took my dead iPhone home and put it in a box for burial. I bought a planner. I lost it three days later and had to buy another one.

It took me about a week to detox, during which time I stole my husband's iPhone and played Candy Crush for two hours. I tried carrying around my lil' Nokia in my hand and checking it every five minutes to make myself feel better, which felt dumber than I had ever imagined possible.

Now I'm into week three of no smart phone, and so far so good. I've learned some valuable lessons, like how much I used to hate texting on a keypad, and how limitless access to the Internet only feeds my Instant Gratification Monkey. (Do yourself a favor and read that whole article about "Why Procrastinators Procrastinate." Very funny, very sharply true.)

These days I'm actually setting my phone down to do things like play with my kids, cook food and take naps. Call me crazy, but I'm counting this technology regression a win.

Any other dumb phone users out there want to share your story?

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