An amazing thing happened. Well amazing for me anyway. I’ve been using various smartphones for the past 7 years or so. They started as Windows phones and, once they adopted the ability to install third party apps, I moved to an iPhone. I’ve had an iPhone continuously since late 2008 and honestly I can say it’s a great phone (I’ve had the original, a 3G, and a 4). However as of April 21, 2012 I have decided to go completely smartphoneless.
Recently my two boys began riding their bikes (finally, they just never seemed to want to until now). So I bought a bike so we could go on rides. It started occurring to me that my phone, that would cost several hundred dollars to replace, could fall out of my pocket at any minute and shatter into a million tiny pieces (ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration). So I did some looking for a phone that I could switch the SIM card out on to take will me when I was out. Also, as a paranoid father of two younger kids, I always worried when I was out by a pool, river, or lake, if one of them fell in and/or went under and couldn’t get back up that would cost me several hundred dollars because I wouldn’t hesitate to jump in after them. So I also looked for a phone that was potentially, at least a little water resistant/proof. I began looking at the Samsung Ruby II a few months back. I also watched some videos of people seeing how much damage they could inflict on it. It was pretty impressive.
Then as I was mulling that over in my head I was talking to some people at work about a book I hadn’t read in years, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Without getting two far into the plot the book is set in a world where people have interactive wall sized TVs and are constantly distracted by personal devices they carry with them at all times, essentially to keep them from feeling or thinking about anything. I began to think, boy for a book written 60 years ago, it’s pretty much on the money with today’s society.
So a week ago I decided to unplug, even if only a little. Now I carry around a “dumb phone” that I don’t have to worry about. Even in the event I did break it, it only cost me $40 on ebay (though the ad said it was used and a little scratched up, it came new with the screen protectors still on it). Now I only get emails if I actually log into my computer and look (it’s fantastic). I don’t spend spare minutes staring at my little 3.5 inch screen looking for some distraction. If I’m going out to lunch by myself (as I sometimes do at work) I bring a book. And far from feeling like I’m missing something I feel like I’ve got something back. I didn’t always need to be able to check to see what the temperature is right now, and now I realize I never really did. It just seemed like it.