On the desk before me sits a black, palm-sized flip phone, its battery power dwindling, the number of service days at “zero.”
It’s a cute little thing — some might call it a “dumb phone” — but it’s nothing more than a lightweight paper weight now that I’ve replaced it with a smart phone.
I feel sad for my flip phone. The little guy was a simple device, not a mini-computer. It couldn’t access Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Google Maps, and it didn’t play videos or take photos. Its texting capabilities were atrocious, but it served its purpose.
It didn’t constantly ring, beep, or buzz like a smart phone. It didn’t feature a screen full of sexy icons tempting me to try the latest game or social media app.
The phone accompanied me everywhere, fitting easily in my front pocket (not so the smart phone). It was a quiet companion that provided a sense of security should I ever need to call 911, a tow truck or order a pizza.
It also served as my excuse when people complained of not being able to instantly reach me by phone, text or Facebook message.
I’d just shrug, hold up my flip phone and say, “Sorry, I don’t have a smart phone, just this.”
Understanding would flash across their face, followed by a look of pity or scorn, like I had just pulled out a can with a string attached to another. The shame got so bad that I would wait until I was alone or walk to a dark corner to use my flip phone.
And always, the inevitable comment would come: “How could anyone survive without a smart phone?”
The answer is two-fold:
First, I’m not obsessed with staying abreast of current trends, memes or Youtube stars. I don’t need to know the latest drama in someone’s life, their latest political comments or see a photo of what they had for lunch. I don’t want to be “tagged” in a photo or know that I was “mentioned” in a post.
I know that sounds foreign to many of you, but you should know that I work in front of a computer most days, and have digital devices at home that enable me to check in on the world when the mood strikes.
Second, I subscribe to the theory that a phone is there for my convenience, not the convenience of others.
Many people want to be accessible to others 24 hours a day — and some get angry when others are not. Not me. I value my downtime and don’t want to be bombarded day and night via email, a phone call, a text, Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp.
And don’t get me started about people who interrupt their conversation with me to respond to a notification on their phone. That’s just rude.
The rantings of an aging, clueless, hopelessly-out-of-date guy?
I enjoy having a smart phone, especially when I’m not at work or home and want access to the Internet. It’s a technological miracle. It’s also the devil in disguise, but I don’t judge others for their dependence on their phones (well, maybe a little).
Although my smart phone can do just about anything, I’m going to miss my flip phone. It was nice to be forcibly disconnected when I was away from home or the office.
But it’s hard for the little, old flip phone to compete with smart phones’ tremendous computing power, high-definition screens, camera and endless apps. To many people, my flip phone is now a transgression against society. It is a dreg of the past; no longer a simple alternative.
But my little phone reminds me of simplier times when life was less busy; when we were not inundated with digital information nor driven to distraction by narcissist impulses or the desire for instant gratification.
So I say, farewell little flip phone. You served me well and ...
What’s that, little guy?
What do you mean I can just turn the smart phone off?
Well, sure. I could do that, but ...
You’re right. Thank you, little buddy. Looks like you’re a smart phone after all.