Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cheating on my flip phone

This could be considered mildly embarrassing in our modern world of technology, but I used a flip phone – yes, an old-school flip phone – until three months ago when I finally, begrudgingly decided to upgrade to an iPhone. 

“What are you from the Dark Ages?”
“Is that a joke?”
“Can that thing even make outgoing calls?”

To which I’d answer, “Yes, it makes calls and it texts – what else does a phone need to do?” 
The joke was on me. 

The thought of relying on technology (or anything, for that matter) terrifies me.  The idea of becoming a person who is dependent on and addicted to my smartphone scares the shit out of me.  Not to mention my biggest pet peeve is the fact that it is highly unlikely to receive – the terror – a smile back from a passer-by on campus, let alone a glance in my direction, or god-forbid any eye contact.  Instead nearly every student is walking with his or her head down engrossed in the latest information buzz on the phone.  It’s disheartening to miss out on interactions with my peers because we’re all too connected (or arguably disconnected) to our lifelines. 
So understandably I was afraid: will I become one of those people? (And now: have I become one of those people?)  Will I use my phone as an excuse to avoid any situations that exacerbate my social anxiety?! I was in the camp that probably would have supported the Day of Unplugging, an event Casey Cep, author of "The Pointlessness of Unplugging" from The “Real” World Flipboard, finds senseless: 
“What sex was for the Puritans, technology has become for us. We’ve focused our collective anxiety on digital excess, and reconnecting with the “real” world around us represents one effort to control it.” 
Now, three months into the ownership of my handy-dandy omniscient iPhone that I so dearly love, I have to agree.  I shouldn’t fear technology I should embrace it – in moderation, however, because there is even such a thing as too much sex and those people are called nymphomaniacs.  Is there a name for people who are addicted to their phones? 
Cep argues that “few who unplug really want to surrender their citizenship in the land of technology; they simply want to travel outside it on temporary visas.”  In other words, we unplug, ironically, to eventually plug back in.  We never intend to permanently disconnect.  And why would we? Smartphones do everything.  Check out this guy's reasons for loving the smartphone. 
The smartphone can do an awful lot, so why unplug? I know that there are some things I will never let my phone replace, like my ability to read a road map and the pleasure it brings me (far more than MapQuest’s misguiding directions).  Or using my physical planner because I love penciling in the dates of events and appointments so much more than trying to type it in my phone.  It isn't replacing my humanity or the things I enjoy, but rather it is complementing it.
I’ll conclude with Cep’s final thoughts: “For most of us, the modern world is full of gadgets and electronics, and we’d do better to reflect on how we can live there than to pretend we can live elsewhere.”  
I never thought I’d say this, but shit, it's kinda, sorta, okay, it's a little true.  Sorry flip phone – I’m a traitor.
Photo Sources:,,,

1 comment:

  1. I find it so interesting that now you went from being “that person with a flipphone” to “that person with the iphone.” Does technology really define us that much?

    I recently just broke my iphone, and would have no problem going back to the blackberry, except the friggin service company decided that they wont cover that particular phone anymore, so I am stuck with reordering the iphone. I don’t really have a problem with the iphone, I think it is rather efficient (it has a gps, calendar, text, phone, and any app imaginable, literally its crazy). If I switched back to a blackberry, would I then be “that” person with a blackberry?


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