I have a friend, in his mid-30’s, who just recently revealed to me that he didn’t have his first cell phone until a few years ago.
If you had seen my expression, you would have probably thought that he had confessed to secretly being a woman.
If he needed to make an urgent call, and he wasn’t at work or at home…he did the unthinkable…he stopped at a payphone.
Now, I’m not traditionally foul-mouthed, but a profanity laced diatribe nearly slipped passed my lips.
I haven’t used a payphone since the mid-90’s!
I honestly couldn’t think of functioning without the ability to send a quick text, or make a quick call.
In the context of today’s technology, most would find it difficult being unable to send a quick tweet or an update to their Facebook page…let alone making a phone call.
It is instant gratification on steroids.
A Dose of the Old
As the story goes…when you cling tightly to something, you inevitably get the opportunity to do without it.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself without a day-job, and as often happens, the cell phone went with it.
So, for the last couple of weeks I have been limping by with a home phone and an occasional use of my wife’s iPhone.
I’m not looking for pity here…but it has been a trial, and painfully so.
For the first few days I actually kept feeling my pant pocket, thinking that I had left my phone somewhere. Nope…I simply didn’t have one!
Add that to my daughters’ probing questions of, “Dad, why are you always taking mommy’s phone when you leave the house”?
At least I’ve been taking the pink cover off before I leave.
Assessing Our Dependency
My life unplugged, as I’ve been calling it these days, has got me thinking.
People survived for generations without the modern conveniences of today.
In reality, the smartphone has only been in existence for the last few years, but somehow we can barely function without it.
Yes, it’s less convenient.
And no, I have not decided to regress back to a cellphone-free existence.
However, there are a few things that I am trying to enjoy in its absence.
- The Pavlov-esk response to the ding of a text message or email.
- The semi-comfort of knowing that I am “off the grid”.
- The fact that paying for a home phone actually makes sense now.
- The knowledge that I can live through heroin-style withdraws.
- The presence of mind to know when something has become too important.
Try Some Life Unplugged
Now, I wouldn’t recommend becoming unemployed for the sake of taking a hiatus from your cell phone.
But, if you find yourself without one, embrace it.
Just take one sage piece of advice from me. Please take the pink cover off before you leave the house.