Over 30 Days Without a SmartPhone – How’s it Been, REALLY?

by Sunshine & Vanilla

The reaction people have when I tell them I don’t have a smart phone continues to amuse me. On more than one occasion my little flip phone has been referred to as a dumb phone.  My good friend J. was there once and responded, “No, it’s not a dumb phone, it’s a phone.”

I like that.  It’s not dumb, it’s just a phone. It does what it’s supposed to do with very few additions. It can still take photos, though they’re pretty bad. It still receives and sends text messages. I can even update my FaceBook status if I really want to.

Okay, that’s all fine and good, but how has it been going really?  Have I been suffering withdrawl? Have I plummeted into a deep dark depression without the ability to look into the lives of my friends and favorite celebrities every nanosecond of every single day?  Have my fingers grown stiff and paralyzed without their constant flicking across endless apps and time sucking games?

No.  No.   Oh, and no.

Have I missed my smartphone?  Sometimes, but very rarely.  In fact, the first time I genuinely missed it was this past weekend at the Outside Lands Festival.  I was surrounded by people staring at their phones.  They were checking in, they were looking at the schedules on the nifty Outside Lands schedule, they were looking at the map, they were snapping photos on Instagram, they were tweeting about the bands.  They were doing the things I used to love to do on my smartphone all while filling those empty spaces between bands.

And then, of all people, Tom Morello, said something early on Sunday morning that really resonated with me.  In fact, it was something that was very similar to something I’d recently said to another friend in regard to my habit of lugging my camera around with me everywhere.  He said, “Be in the moment.  Put that shit (cameras, etc) down, and be in the moment.”  Another artist said it later in the day, it seemed to become a theme – the way you start thinking about something and then suddenly it’s everywhere.

Be In The Moment.

Isn’t that really what the point of my “unplugging” and living a less wired life is all about at the root of it?  I wanted to stop giving only some of my attention to things all the time. I wanted to stop devoting only part of myself to things.  I wanted to give things all of my focus. I wanted to Be In The Moment.

I wanted to go out to dinner with my friend without the urge to  pull out my phone every two minutes.  I wanted to relax at the beach without the need to check out FaceBook and see what everyone else was doing.  I didn’t really need to read all my celebrity tweets while enjoying a weekend BBQ with friends.

As an aside, at what point did it ever become acceptable to have your phone on the table during a social occasion?  At what point did society say, “Yes, it’s totally okay for you to be interacting with someone or ten other someones during this dinner date we made last week?”  When did it become okay for someone to start typing away on their telephone while their companion was mid-sentence?

Oh, that’s right. Never. And yet, apparently, everyone seems to think it’s okay.

Don’t get me wrong here, I haven’t forgotten. I, too, was one of the worst offenders.  I have never claimed to be anything other than one of the worst offenders.  It was a driving force behind giving up my smartphone.  Because I became so disgusted with myself and this poor behavior.  What’s strange is, now that I’ve made the change in my own life, I’m much more tolerant and forgiving of everyone else. Tap away, society.  Do as you will. I can wait for you to finish whatever is so important on your phone for us to finish our real life interaction.  It’s all good.

I am happy to be free.

I can’t lie to you, however, because I said I would be honest.  There are things I miss.  Giving up my smartphone has all but destroyed my twitter account. I’m not sure I’ve logged in more than twice this month.  Instagram is gone now, too.  I miss seeing my friends’ photos more than I miss posting my own, for I can always bring an actual camera places with me, but many of the people I followed there are people who wouldn’t normally take photos.  I miss checking in places, odd as that may be. It was fun looking for the place and checking in with excitement, “Old 97s! — at the Fillmore, San Francisco” and I’m certain next week when I’m sitting at the airport I’ll miss having the phone to waste away the time with, for it was an excellent time waster.  But really?  That’s about it as far as the negatives go.

I have to say, I’m pretty surprised.  I truly believed after a month, I’d be running back with my tail between my legs just begging for an iPhone 4.