My flip phone is my most prized possession. Let me explain. A few years ago, when my phone company switched technologies, my hard-as-a-rock Huawei with real buttons and no touchscreen became obsolete and I had to get a new phone. You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to convince Fernando at the Metro PCS store that I didn’t want a cell phone that did my laundry and made my lunch; I just needed a phone that made calls. Reluctantly, he pulled a simple little flip phone from the back. This experience made me realize that I better take good care of my flip phone, because you never know when they might stop making them altogether.
I’ve never had a phone with internet access; the notion of having the internet on my person at all times seems unnecessary to me. And yet, I am still able to function in the “digital age.” I am an email-sending, online dating, blogging machine, and somehow I’m able to do it without Wi-Fi in my pocket.
I saw an advertisement for Blackberry once that said: “Multitask without limits.” I love to multitask as much as the next person, but I happen to think that it’s a good thing to set some limits on my multitasking capabilities. Another ad in the NYC subway said something to the effect of: “Make every moment productive.” Why should I make every moment productive? What’s wrong with being unproductive for a few minutes, or an hour, or even a whole day?
I think that my refusal to join the smartphone masses stems from my refusal to buy into the American capitalist ideal of productivity and work ethic above all other ethics. This incessant need to perform is exhausting. I don’t need to check my email after I’ve left the office. It is my belief that there is a world beyond the World Wide Web.
Granted, sometimes I get lost, and sometimes I’m that person that calls my mom at work to ask her to look up directions for me on the internet. And yet, I’m grateful for these inconveniences. They remind me that we’re not always in control, the way that having a smartphone might give someone a false sense of security. Also, getting lost every once in a while is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that I get by not having constant access to the internet.
Living without a smartphone means that I have to plan ahead and check out a map before heading to a new part of town, or remember to bring my camera when I’m spending the day with friends. It means that I make a to-do list of the oh-so-important questions I need to ask Google next time I’m online, and it means that I’m never up-to-date with what’s happening on Twitter. It also means that I’m more mindful with my time, both online and in real life. Rather than checking my email over dinner with my boyfriend, I set aside time dedicated to answering emails and surfing the web. Multitasking isn’t always the best way to go through the world.
I’ve heard from many of my smartphone-wielding friends that they wished they had never crossed over to the other side. It sounds like the mafia; once you’re in, you can never get out. On the other side of the coin, my flip phone friends are gung-ho about keeping their cell phones simple. One of my friends said that she’s considering reverting to a landline for the sake of her family and her own mental sanity. I’ve had the same thought myself! We’re a rare breed, the flip phone species.
Top photo: Gossip Girl
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