For a while now, I’ve felt dumb because my phone isn’t smart.
In professional and social situations alike I’m reluctant to pull out my Verizon LG something-or-other phone, the kind that slides out to reveal a formerly-cutting-edge keyboard. It’s the kind of cell phone most people my age abandoned sometime toward the end of high school.
With my little 1.5 x 2 inch screened dinosaur in hand I feel unprofessional, I feel behind the times and I feel positively juvenile.
The thing is though, my refusal to conform to the smartphone creed is somewhat of a private victory. My phone isn’t even that old; it’s a recent upgrade from a standard flip phone. I might cringe when I have to answer a text in front of coworkers, but I’m holding onto it for as long as I can.
Believe what you will based on the previous statement, but I wouldn’t actually call myself a luddite. In most ways, I’m a typical millennial. I’m chained to my Macbook, I actively celebrate likes and retweets and I’m most likely to read articles presented in easy-to-read list form. I just haven’t taken the plunge into smart phonedom yet, and as I sit at the edge of the pool like the only tweenager who forgot her bathing suit at the party of the year, I feel like I need to justify myself.
Four Simple Reasons Why I’m Keeping My Dumb Phone
1. Because I can’t open a Facebook tab on the ‘ole paper Kindle.
When I’m at home, I have a consistently-open Facebook window haunting my every move. When I’m out, not having a smartphone means I can break that self-imposed chain and wander unburdened by social networks. It means I can pick up a copy of the Onion and read in the waiting room. It means I can actually focus on a book while I’m on the train. Sometimes I feel like I’ve sold my soul to the Internet, but as much as I love Tumbling all night long, I’m glad I don’t have 24/7 access. If I had a Smartphone I’d be like alcoholic at an open bar. I couldn’t keep my hands off that sweet, sweet, Internet portal.
2. Because sometimes it’s good to be a little lost.
When I go somewhere new, I get out a little notebook and scribble down directions from Google Maps. I cross my fingers at each turn until I reach my destination. It’s not foolproof, it’s sometimes frustrating, but that moment of panic means I’m aware of my surroundings. Navigating unassisted by Sputnik is a skill I value keeping, not for conspiracy-theory reasons, but just because I’m the kind of girl who likes to figure things out as I go.
3. Because I like Thai food
The extra thirty or so dollars I’d spend each month on a data plan don’t get funneled into my retirement fund. They go to little luxuries like Thai delivery or fancy shampoo. With my paltry student’s income, the little things go a long way.
4. Because there’s value in boredom
I don’t want to be constantly entertained. Like eating your vegetables or trying new things (or even trying a new vegetable) boredom can be good for you. So often, in conversations, on trains, during movies, you name the situation- I catch smartphone owners checking out on the world to check in on something in another window. Check in to your reality window, man! I’m not saying I’d be any better. Actually, I can totally see myself doing the same thing, which is exactly why I’m putting off getting a smartphone. When I’m forced to do nothing, I find myself reverting to self-reflection. I don’t want to threaten that skill by filling the gaps in my day with more and more (admittedly wonderful) media.
Ultimately, I’m going to get a smartphone. It’s probably going to be an iPhone, but one generation behind (because I’m cheap), and I’ll be giddy over finally be able to sync my iCal to my phone and never mixing up an appointment again!
While I don’t believe Siri is an evil robot goddess who is eventually going to turn on us and take over the world, (wait, maybe I do, what!)- I do believe that over-reliance on technology can lead to underused capacities of self-reliance. I see it happening in myself and I see it happening to my peers. So that’s why training myself to live sans iPhone, so that when I do get my hands on the tools and conveniences of that tiny miracle computer, I’ll know how to go about my business with or without it.
Until then, I’ll be the adult with the MIDI ringtone, the one trying to avoid eye contact as I answer a text from my Mom.