Stories & Life
Comments 3

imho – a cellular life

I’m enjoying life without a cell phone. I really do not enjoy talking on the phone. It has always been a strange and awkward experience for me: to only hear a voice, disconnected from the body it belongs to. I would rather Skype or video chat, so that I can at least see a person’s body language and facial expressions. Or, I don’t mind texting. With texting, though, you still run into the same problem as talking on the phone–you have language and words disconnected from the person; however, I like that I can take time to think through what I want to say, maybe even re-write it if it doesn’t sound good.

One of the main things that keeps me from getting a cell phone, aside from how damn expensive the plans can be, is that a cell phone puts me continuously on-call. At any given moment, the device can vibrate, ring, or otherwise summon me into its presence. But what if I am in the middle of something that I am really enjoying, something really life-giving? Or what if I am appreciating a good conversation with a friend?

We are centering our lives around cell phones, developing technology that can put everything into one device: email, internet, texting, talking, video chat, calendar, camera, music, and even books. If there is anything you are missing, there’s an app for that! My point is not necessarily to be a Luddite (though I wholeheartedly support those who are Luddites). I like technology as much as the next person. Also, the virtual realities of our modern world require some degree of technological engagement. I simply want to honestly ask myself what effect new technology has on my well-being. I also want to try my darnedest to not get swept up in the consumeristic impulse to buy the latest gizzmos. The most up-to-date numbers I have seen is that each American produces 1,700 lbs of trash each year, and so I want to think more intentionally about what I consume.

“You don’t own your stuff,” says Tyler from the film Fight Club, “your stuff owns you.” This certainly seems true of my 8 or 9 years experience with cell phones. It puts me on call for distractions. Sometimes these are good distractions, though, and that’s the rub, because I do keep in touch better with friends and family with a cell phone. Cell phones are also handy. And they are dandy. And I do miss the connections formed around this form of virtual reality….I just don’t know that it’s worth it right now, for me personally….

This entry was posted in: Stories & Life

by

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy; I pass the winters in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I'm working on a memoir-based nonfiction book on the American Dream. I blog, quite frequently, and I also have a novel in process, set in Alaska.

3 Comments

  1. D. Ogyen says

    I haven’t had a cellphone in quite a while. I might not be the easiest person to get a hold of, but as a dear friend put it (she is a much much older lady) “Look, what are these new technology leash laws?? If I’m here, I am and we talk, if I’m not, you’ll talk to me when I am.” Like her I love my freedom and don’t need more “security” to bog me down in rules and sociocentric behaviors.

    Whenever in doubt, I lean on this. There is no certainty, trying to make someone more ‘secure’ by making them ‘reachable’ is just another way to cling to the illusion of control. I don’t have a cell, don’t want one, only time I get a disposable is when my work requires me to have one. Damn.. disposable lowest minutes are about 30$… um… yah.

    Dis is how we rock it: If I’m here, I’m here. If I’m not, no cell in the world will make me talk to ya (the caller). HAHA. In this day and age, I ain’t the most popular friend, heck I don’t even know how most apps work… However, I’m quite tech savvy, just not interested in new shiny ways of leashing myself to the same old fears….

    _/|\_
    D. Ogyen

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  2. Like anything else, phones are tools, sometimes used smartly and sometimes not. Case in point for the “sometimes not” category: hanging out with one party while texting and truly being with, mentally, another party. Or ordering food, carrying on a bank transaction or getting checked in for a flight with a customer service person while talking on the phone to someone else. Are we seriously so strapped for time any more that we have to multi-task our fellow humans?

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  3. erdman31 says

    Lori,

    Another example of the “sometimes not” category would be texting while driving. Scary!

    Like

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