A Love Hate Diary of Dates with a Smartphone… (part 1)

Love may have been in the air this weekend but not necessarily between me and my android Smartphone. Yes, I’ve been shoved into the noisy techno world of oncoming traffic, reluctantly but necessarily if I want to be able to function in this world.

My motto of “Don’t jump in if you don’t want to jump out,” safeguarded me for awhile. Doing what everyone else does “because that’s what everyone else is doing” is not me. Such reasoning conjures up images of Guyana Kool-Aid, the Hale-Bopp Comet deaths, and sheep blindly following sheep…to the slaughter house rather than sweet dreams. Years of friends chuckling at my dinosaur flip phone mattered little to me. I didn’t have a monthly cell bill, and my landline and answering machine worked just fine. Yes, I did say, “answering machine.” Digital at least. Not cassette…

But now, now I’ve re-entered the Smartphone arena that feels like bulls charging me from all sides. I say “re-entered” because I had my first date with a Smartphone nine months ago. I needed a phone I could use while traveling in Scotland. TracFone couldn’t do that so I invested in a Mobal phone with 30-day risk-free UK plan to give it a go. Here’s how it went:

May 23, 2019 – First Date, First Impressions

“This is going to make your trip so awesome,” friends said.

I nodded my head in agreement while silently hiding my suspicion.

Downloading, typing, typing, typing.

 “If you have a few minutes, could you show me how to….?”

“There’s no standardization. All phones are different.”

“Oh.”

Researching how to this, how to that, how to, how to…

Downloading, specifying, protecting, not understanding, flashing

ads

all the time.

No wonder so many are on anti-anxiety or anti-depressant meds. My blood pressure is up a good 10 points.

Downloading, warning, memory low on resources, black

frozen screen.

Now what do I do?

Worrying, fretting, exhausted. Too much to lose.

I always thought why would I trust a device to hold ALL of my vitals?

Tech support (via landline).

Deleting, deleting, uninstalling, removing. “Is it safe?”

Oh, this has not been a pleasant first experience.

Is it really going to get better after this?

Day 2 or is it the second week…or how long have I had this thing?

This intrusive device had to be silenced so I could get some sleep.

Do I really need this?

I haven’t even taken this to Scotland or put it to real use. Already I need to clear my head.

Outside.

Person walking on leaf-strewn path in the forest
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Birds sing.

An owl hoots in the distance. Or, is he echoing from this end?

I hear whinnying like a horse. I walk closer to see if I can see it, otherwise, I’ll have to ask Google

The magnificent hawk glides through the sun rays of this happy blue sky.

I feel free.

I feel in the moment.

There is no tension in my being

just the push and pull as I stride up the hill

and delight

to be OUTSIDE.

June 5, 2019 – We’re Not Getting Along

I call a Scotland Lyft. No availability.

I pick up the landline. A Black Cab arrives.

Getting off the train platform in Stirling, which way to go?

The font is tiny. I cannot read the directions.

Thank goodness for my printed copies of Mapquest

and the helpful elderly woman who guides me to a local breakfast joint.

e-mail arrives. The sitter reports my beloved dog Bess is walking around the pond, playing, eating, doing okay.

June 6, 2019 – Ceased and Deceased

5-hour European time delays. No communication.

11PM e-mail arrives. My dog is dead. She’s been euthanized.

Trying to make contact, the Mobal phone is also dead.

Did I forget to charge it?

Returning home, the phone goes back in the box. Service ceased.

And so has my involvement with a Smartphone. I think.

How Do You Do?

In gearing up for the National Day of Unplugging, which may soon become my favorite holiday, I’m reflecting on my Smartphone transition thus far. Being a gardener and feeling alive when outdoors and in nature, I’ve resisted using a device particularly when observing how vastly it is changing our lives, our vocabulary, our thoughts, communication, lifestyle and even human physical attributes (think eyesight, thumbs, memory, and prefrontal cortex).

Green leaves and handwritten sentiment "How we live is what makes us real"
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This concerns me. And while I’ve resisted, it grows increasingly difficult to operate without a device. Do you “consciously” think about Smartphone use  — for yourself and the world at large? How do you spend your time, are you more at ease, more productive with it? Have you found the benefits (aka “conveniences”) outweigh the intrusion? I’d love to know how you manage your device, or if it controls you.

Surely, I’m not the only one getting into the tech game at this late stage. I wonder, did you have a similar experience to mine, or did you jump right in and swim? (I can float but water over my head is not relaxing and probably tied to my HSP tendencies.) Was there ever a time in your life when you didn’t have a Smartphone and can you recall what that felt like? Are you a Digital Diva, growing up with a Smartphone in your hand…or like me, from the mountainous countryside where life is quiet, simple, and maybe 10 years behind the times?


Here’s a worthy alert for your phone on March 6, 2020. Beginning at sundown on the first Friday in March, the annual National Day of Unplugging will run 24 hours until sundown on March 7th. Try it. See how you feel… Truly, I’d love to hear if it makes a difference in your being.


 

 

Feature photo by Jason Tharsiman on Unsplash

 

15 Replies to “A Love Hate Diary of Dates with a Smartphone… (part 1)”

  1. Oh so true about advancing technology being our savior and our doom. I think “balance” may be the only saving grace.

    And funny to hear you mention the things I still happily use like maps, an alarm clock, and even CDs. I listen to the radio sometimes (much of it is noise), and I still use stamps and send handwritten sentiments. If you want a good laugh picture me entering a hotel room that only has smart devices so I didn’t know how to turn on the lights…or make coffee. (I had to ask for help with a Keurig as I still slow brew.) 🙂 It’s one stress or another I suppose but I like my pace of life (and not I’m not elderly). 🙂

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember what my life was like when I didn’t have a smartphone. Do I miss that life? Maybe. Maybe not.

    The truth is, I love using smartphones so much. Although the reason why I love smartphones is the same reason why most people hate them: it has so many features, all in one place. Smartphones are, like, your one-stop shop for virtually everything!

    But, yes, I suppose this makes us become out of touch with the ‘natural’ or conventional way of doing things. We no longer use clocks to tell time; we don’t need radios to listen to the radio; and we no longer need MP3 players, typewriters, printed maps, letters, etc. Some of us, like me, don’t have lives offline.

    We’re so dependent on these devices that when they get damaged, lost or stolen, we feel like we’ve lost everything. It’s like Olaf (from Frozen) said: advancing technology will be both our savior and our doom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been delighted to see how many on your site agree with us which gives me hope there are more. We just need to find them and unite (at least until they pull the plug again I suppose). And we are rightfully suspicious…rather than be like the rest of the sheep.

    As far as the initial capital, I initially thought I was being proper but then again, I must have been following those sheep who deem these things the greatest invention since I-Tunes I suppose. But, in consideration of your comment, I agree. I do not think they deserve a capital. Maybe I should actually make the font so tiny it’s hardly readable. I’ll have to correct that. Thanks for the pointer! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to find there’s at least one other human bean still left on the planet who’s suspicious of the intention of these invaders. I do have my suspicions about yourself though: why the initial capital on ‘smartphone’? Do the cussed things really deserve such a distinction?

    Like

  5. to answer your last paragraph question, yes i see way too many couples when they are together, paying much more attention to their phones than to eachother and way too many people not paying attention to the world around them when walking about

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing the positive ways your Smartphone helps you, Buddy.

    I’ve gotten spam e-mails and texts on the phone (even though I don’t text)…and I thought when attempting to opt out of ads Google indicated it would adversely affect the programming.

    While I use my PC for most of the other things you speak of (like e-mail, getting info and staying in touch with friends internationally) it’s still time consuming weeding out the spam yet I put up with it because I don’t have another alternative. The phone seems to be adding a duplicate layer of unwanted weeding.

    I understand the traffic control info could help and possibly info on the run if I don’t want to wait to get back home but then it seems I would need to link the two which I am uncomfortable with. I suppose this will be a see as I go experience as I’ve rarely felt a need for “instant” info.

    Sounds like you and your phone are best buds. Yet I wonder…your beautiful photos and posts seem to be so in touch with the world around you, does it bother you at all that so many seem to be glued to their phones and not paying attention when in the company of others, crossing the street, etc.?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. i dont get ads and the alerts are for email or texts which i may get. you can “silence” your phone. you can optout of any ad type email and usually i only get those if i bought something online, i can track any packages i have sent or if im expecting any. most of the time im using it as a camera and texting friends. i search places to eat and info on google. i have been using a smartphone for many years and i guess i just get use to it and filter out the junk. i like using google to get info on things like a movie i am watching etc. of course there is the traffic info. it gives me the ability to do things “on the run” and not have to wait to get home to get phone messages or look things up on my laptop. i have “friends” not only in the usa but in other countries and can keep in contact with them all most in real time. not only can i text or email, but also talk on the phone (and not pay phone charges) or even do video chats.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How do you manage all the ads, alerts, mail, voicemail, etc. — are you able to technologically disable ALL of it (having only phone and camera) or do you become desensitized after awhile and not pay attention/block it out?

    Like

  9. i echo what cheryl said about her phone, except tossing it.

    one must remember to control it and not have it control you.

    i dont have any boundaries about its use like cheryl. but i have no games

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think paying so much for a device would make one want to use it more. I have heard some say they wish they could toss it but it seems they can’t put it down. Setting and keeping boundaries sounds like a good way to manage it, Cheryl. Thanks for some helpful tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish i would’ve never bought an iphone. Now I use it as a watch, camera, radio, flashlight, note-taker, map, communications, music device, news source, etc. If it weren’t so convenient to have, I’d toss it. Too late—I consider it a useful tool for a writer. I have pretty strict boundaries on how often I use it, though. And I don’t play games or use social media.

    Liked by 3 people

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