5 Reasons I DON'T Have an iPhone
I'll be the first to admit: I have a dumb phone. It's a Samsung that came free with my phone plan two years ago: the full keyboard buttons are sticky, the emoticons are crooked and every time my phone rings it seizes in comically awkward bursts. Above all, my oldest brother, an architect and Apple product enthusiast, decries that my phone's interface is positively primitive. And although he has converted everyone else in my family to team iPhone (including my father who recently learned how to text), I have yet to buy into the "iPhone, therefore I am" philosophy, even as a 21-year-old college student. Undoubtedly, smart phones are incredible tools, yet I contend that not having a smart phone has actually enriched my life in five notable ways.
1.) I talk more and text less.
Because my phone makes it difficult to compose text messages that don't cause me to appear borderline illiterate, I find myself reviving the lost art of conversation, not just in person but also over the phone. I am always shocked that my friends would rather spend hours coordinating plans through innumerable text messages than have a five-minute conversation over the phone. In fact, I so rarely receive phone calls that I hardly need voicemail at all. On the other hand, tools like Apple's FaceTime and Skype are becoming increasingly popular. However, I find that I end up looking at myself more during these video chats than at the person to whom I am supposed to be talking. And while it would be ridiculous to preen yourself like a parrot in a mirror while conversing face-to-face, it is commonly accepted over video chat. And even worse than that, if you want to look into someone's eyes as you engage over Skype, you actually have to look two inches above their face into an unblinking camera. In our fascination with the latest features of communication technology, we have severed the most intimate connections that make conversations meaningful.
Still from Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder.
2.) I have time to wonder.
In the video below, comedian Pete Holmes discusses how the iPhone's Google capabilities are ruining our lives by short-circuiting our natural accumulation of information. For him the condition of not knowing something gives us the opportunity to be, "impregnated with wonder." But instead of wondering and discussing, more people are content to instantly find information on their phones. There's no time for curiosity when you know the answer is always just a few touches away. However, we should keep in mind that the easier information is to obtain the less likely we are to absorb it.
3.) I rely on my memory.
We can store so many memories in our phones, yet we hardly consider what happens to that information when our phones are lost to us... until it's too late. For this reason, losing a phone has become a traumatic event, hyperbolically likened to losing a limb. But it is important to recognize that as we increasingly treat our phones like auxiliary brains, our own memories are atrophying. As a part of a generation that documents every mundane detail of our daily lives, I find it liberating to choose to forget some things. But when I do want to remember, I can't whip out my phone to snap an Instagram, instead I live in the moment and trust that I will remember what's important later.
Still from Christian Marclay's Telephones.
4.) I wander and get lost.
When we depend on our phones for directions we spend more time staring at a dot on a screen than assessing our real life location. I have a notoriously poor sense of direction; however, without the help of a GPS on my phone, I have been forced to take better note of my surroundings and interact with locals to find my way. And because I don't have a smart phone, I'm not always expected to know the way -- instead I let the way find me. No one relies on me to be the navigator, but when I am I can guarantee it will result in an adventure, just as long as you don't mind getting lost.
5.) And most importantly, I forget I have a phone.
Though I am sometimes afflicted with the same "phantom limb syndrome" that affects many cell phone users, from time-to-time I forget that I have a phone. And if I leave it at home I find that I can still make it through the day with only a minor panic attack. In fact the stretches of time in which I have been unable to use my phone have been some of the most relaxing times of my life. It may be hard to believe that just twenty years ago most people were able to survive without even the most basic of cell phones, but today, even the smartest of phones can make us do some pretty dumb things.
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