Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From Smartphone to No Phone. ET, give me a call. On my landline.

We are just coming up on 48 hours since I switched off my beloved smartphone (a Samsung Epic, for inquiring minds) and activated a new-to-me but definitely not new cellphone. After a solid month of vacationing and leaving my phone in the car (or my purse, or occasionally at the house) so that I could actually enjoy the moments instead of recording them for posterity, I have finally totally cut the UBS cord.

It all began the day that we were packing up to head home at the end of July.

I rode my bike over to Lizard's house. "Did you get my text?" she asked me. "We're going out to lunch."
"I don't actually have my phone with me." I answered.
Her grin spread from ear to ear as we high-fived, and then came in for a hug.
"It feels weird." I confessed.
"It's GREAT!" she replied.

That experience led me to the conclusion that my phone had become.....intrusive. It wasn't adding to my life, it was preventing me from experiencing it fully. And my behavior "on smartphone" was - dare I say it - rude. Or at the very least, distracted.

So I got rid of the damn thing - my second brain, my filter, my lifeline - and I went down to the store and bought a second-hand cellphone. It's cute - but it doesn't have internet access and it's not going to talk to me or tell me where to go. I am going to have to figure out what to say, when to leave, and how to get there all by myself. I hope I still know how.

I powered it on, had my contacts transferred, and figured out how to access my address book. The first call was to Jersey.

"How's it going? Like your new phone?"
"Um, it's okay. It's cute. Small. Really lightweight actually. I forgot how little they could be!"
We talked for a while - the reception kind of sucked and of course I was quick to blame the new, lesser phone. Plus it kept BEEPING. So annoying.
"What IS that?" Max hissed when it beeped loudly for the 4th time.
"I have no idea. I don't know how to work this thing. Maybe it's call waiting?"

And then the battery died and everything came to a screeching halt.

It's about 49 hours since that new-to-me cellphone's battery ran out of juice mid-conversation, never to be revived. Over the ensuing hours (now days) I have driven to town and delivered the poor, unresponsive cellphone back to the store for testing. DOA, I was told. They had another phone in stock that they were going to return to factory settings for me: erasing the address book, clearing the memory, etc. but it would take a few hours. I opted to pick it up the next day.

For the time being, I am phone-less.

There is no dinging bicycle bell to alert me to a new text message, no guitar riff signaling an incoming call, no buzz to remind me of an upcoming appointment.  I have finally put down the smartphone and stopped scrolling through social media messages during lulls in conversation. Instead, I *gasp* change the subject. Or enjoy the view. Or order a cheese plate (emotional eating). Or nap. It is peaceful, being unplugged like this. It's also incredibly boring at times, and frustrating at others.

I know that even when I do get a phone back, my life is going to be very different. No posting photos from my phone to Facebook. No gps to tell me how to get where I need to go, or Googling for answers to the kids unending questions. No tweeting snarky comments.

I'm just going to use my phone to call people.

Oh, the horror.

I have the smartphone tucked away, for travel and other times when I deem it necessary to remain in full and unwavering contact with every fucking person I know. But for now it is resting quietly in it's box, instead of overheating on my kitchen counter where it frequently vibe-alerted itself right onto the floor.

Those days are over for now. I am sitting in my living room reading the magazines that have piled up over the summer, and charging the battery for my camera. That's right, I said it. I'm going to take pictures with a camera. Mind-boggling.

This may sound crazy, but call me maybe.

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