These days everyone has a smart phone.
Except me. And my kids. Other than that – yes, almost everyone has one.
I have been without a cell phone for over a year now. Previously, I enjoyed the use of a cell phone as one of the benefits of my employment. They were provided gratis along with a monthly allowance of minutes. I rarely used more than my allowance, and when I did, the cost was generally in the five dollar range. Not much of a stress on the family budget. My new position, as chief potato peeler and sock folder for our family unit, did not offer free use of a cell phone as part of my benefit package. (It comes with plenty of other perks, though, including typing blog articles in my pajamas and frequent naps.) My son once proudly carried a cell everywhere he went, but after losing one and then sending another through the clothes washer, I decided that he could manage without until he had a steady income to contribute to the monthly phone bill and the occasional replacement of the phone itself. So, we are a one cell family – my husband uses one – which makes us a bit unusual in this current era of family phone plans.
My life without a cell phone has been great. I can count on one hand the number of occasions when having a cell phone of my own would have been desirable in the last year, and none of them were dire emergencies. Instead, they were merely situations where I would have been a little less inconvenienced had I been able to access a phone quickly. The benefits have easily outweighed the cons. When I am with someone, I am truly “with” them. I’m not distracted by text messages, Words with Friends, or Facebook status updates. Outside the home, I am no longer interrupted by phone calls; instead, I am fully engaged in what I am doing. Whether it is walking the dog, grocery shopping, or just hanging out with friends, I no longer have to answer the pull of a technological leash. It’s truly wonderful.
Yet – ah, such a significant word, yet – yet, even after experiencing these obvious benefits, I still entertain the occasional notion of obtaining a smart phone. I tell myself how handy, how practical, and how fun it would be to be part of the smart phone revolution – a revolution that reinvents its own self every 6 ½ minutes if the commercials on TV are to be believed. It’s quite likely that I won’t even understand how to operate a smart phone if I were to acquire one. My husband has a fairly basic touch cell and most of the time I can’t remember how to answer it. A year in the world of technological advances seems to be the equivalent of skipping one hundred years – or more – in real time.
I’m an intelligent woman, however, and I’m sure that given a day or two I’d figure it out and master most of the features. These are features that I most likely won’t use, in any event, because my year away from phone technology has made me wiser. I’ll be disciplined about my phone usage and leave it off most of the time. I’ll just use it on long road trips – as a safety feature, in case I need to contact anyone for help. Oh, maybe I can use it when shopping so I can compare prices or use the GPS to shave ten seconds off my travel time to church on Sunday mornings. Also, I’ll probably do an occasional check in on Facebook – I’m sure it won’t take much of my attention away from the conversation I’m having with my friend, just a second or two or three or twenty. I might need it to keep my daughter busy when she wants attention, but I have something of my own I’d rather do have something terribly urgent and important to do, or maybe so I can text nagging reminders loving notes to my husband to tell him to bring milk home I love him. Yes, I will only use it when it’s absolutely necessary…or because it’s beeping or ringing or vibrating, and it would just kill me to ignore it because it could be important. It’s not important, ever, but hey, it could be this time – right?
Okay, probably not.