Downgrades & Dumb Phones

It has been exactly one year since I left my blackberry in a cab. I remember the bleary fumble for my phone on the bedside table and realizing it wasn’t there. It was interesting how quickly I geared into awake mode. I jumped out of bed and searched my purse, the pockets of my jacket, the laundry basket, the kitchen, the bathroom, under the bed, scouring my apartment for its whereabouts. My roommates boyfriend saw me looking and asked what was up and as cool-y as possible I said “I think my phone may have fallen out of my pocket in the cab”. I was in shambles on the inside, it felt like my whole life was on that phone. Which was precisely the problem.

I spent a lot of time that day thinking about what to do next. I love technology and gadgets so the first thought was just to upgrade to something new and snazzy. An Android perhaps or the ubiquitous iPhone. Then I remembered a dinner I had around Christmas time and the appalling smart phone behaviour displayed there. A kind but awkward girl was sharing a story of her personal struggles. She was on the verge of tears, telling it with pleading eyes that seemed to say ‘I have been hurt really badly and need to be able to share this somewhere safe’. There were three other people in the room. Two were encouraging and listening attentively, the other was paying half attention and tweeting on his iPhone. I wanted to crack the screens of every iPhone with the screams of my indignation at that moment. It was so rude, and it’s so common.

Thinking back on that memory I decided to do the thing I didn’t want to and downgrade to a simple phone. Just calls and texts. It has a camera but a really crappy one. To be honest, I hate it. I hate its stupid keyboard. I hate that it won’t let me change the menu around. I hate that I can’t tweet anymore. I hate that it takes the worst pictures and it connects to the internet in a way that makes me want to throw it across the room. I realized quickly though that the “life” that I had lost on my phone didn’t really have anything to do with living. I love that I’m not tied to email. I love that not having yelp or google maps at the ready causes me to know my city better and find places to eat with my eyes instead of by stranger’s opinions. I love that I don’t feel some sort of phantom limb syndrome when I forget my phone at home.

It would be an over statement to say losing the blackberry was one of the best things to happen in my life. I would say though that it has definitely increased the quality of it. Downgrading has helped to decrease distraction and forced me to be present in the moment. I wasn’t sure if I would last long without a smart phone and now that it’s been a year I’m not sure if I could ever go back.

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