Monday, August 20, 2012

Why I Don't Have A Cell Phone

I don't have a cell phone.

Weird, right?  I mean, I'm a fairly technologically savvy human being.  I even have a blog.  But no cell phone.  My husband and son each have their own.  My mother and father have cell phones. My neighbors and co-workers all have cell phones. Even my 90 year-old grandmother has a cell phone!  In fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of a single person I know that does not carry a little electronic leash around with them.

Even this cat has a cell phone!
It's not because I can't afford one.  I just don't want the kind of commitment that comes with a cellular phone.  Not the cell plan, either, I mean the commitment to be constantly available to most of humanity, the addiction of being constantly plugged in.

It's not that I don't have my share of technology addiction.  When I'm at home, I'm known to check facebook and email several times a day.  But when I walk out my front door, I'm pretty much free.  I can go to the park with my kids and not be distracted by numerous phone conversations or text messages.  I can enjoy the outdoors unhindered by electronic distractions.  I can shop, eat a pleasant meal at a restaurant, watch a movie at the theater, and even drive my mini van with no interuptions from a beeping, vibrating cell phone.

Not carrying a cell phone with me, gives me the freedom to enjoy each moment, to be immersed in it without electronic distractions.  There is a beauty in not being able to be reached for any little whim.

Of course,  not being constantly available is a constant frustration to many of my friends.  Everyone seems to  communicate with everyone else via their phones pretty much constantly.  And I do miss out on things because I'm just not instantly available.  You actually have to make an effort to reach me.  Either pick up a phone and actually reach me at home (I do have a land line.) and then actually have a real conversation with me before we can meet for coffee or ask me to cover your shift.  I know.  What a pain in the patookis!

I see people constantly chained to their devices.  I've seen them eating at a nice restaurant, two people so engrossed in their electronics that they miss what's actually going on around them.  They miss the food and the possible conversation.  They miss the opportunity to connect to a real human being sitting right in front of them because they are too distracted by their connection to their cellular phone.  I've seen my friends line up at the bar after work, every single one of them glued to the screens of their phones, gazing glassy-eyed at the images or furiously thumb texting status updates, completely oblivious to the rest of the world.  I want to scream, "Look people a very real person is sitting here waiting to have a real conversation right now.  Put down your phone!  Pay attention to what is actually going on in front of your eyes!" 

But in a world where we are being constantly bombarded with distraction via television, social media updates, streaming video and music, and instant messaging with friends and family, it's nice to be able to so easily unplug.  At least when I'm not at home, I'm not tied to my distractions with a leash disguised as a convenience.

And if there is an emergency?  Well you can reach me at home...or leave me a message on Facebook.  I'm sure to check it the minute I get home.

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