A Love Hate Diary of Dates with a Smartphone… (part 3)

Mark your calendar, set your alert notifications for the National Day of Unplugging which begins at sundown this coming Friday (March 6) and ends (only if you want it to) at sundown on Saturday (March 7). This mini diary on my smartphone experience explains why I’ll be unplugged too!

Continuing from Part 2 that ended on January 15, 2020…

January 16, 2020 – Warming my Heart

Using my brand new android smartphone, I attempt to photograph ceramic tiles in the Lowe’s home improvement store to coordinate with cabinetry. The 20-something clerk sees my difficulties and offers to help.

“I just got this,” I nervously chuckle while handing him the phone.

Quickly he swipes one way then another.

“I started with a flip phone in my teens,” he says. “Even I had to get use to a smartphone. But, you’ll love it,” he assures me. “You can get stock quantities. Use the calculator to determine your costs. Access your bank account to pay for it…”

Oh, not my bank account. But, he makes it look so easy I’m feeling slightly optimistic. I just need practice. I leave the store, my heart warmed more from human kindness in my moment of vulnerability than the possibility of being able to operate my smartphone.

January 17, 2020 – “If You Don’t Use it, You Lose it”

That wise sentiment has survived generations. Because it’s true.

Hand holding a device with cars moving down a main street
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Traveling to a town I haven’t seen in a decade, I momentarily feel lost on an unfamiliar street. Almost instantly I think you have that phone. Pull over and use the GPS. Instead, I look ahead several blocks and see enough moving cars that it appears to be a main road. I decide to use my own skill and think for myself instead of relying on Google for the answer. My instincts are right. I find my way. And I feel all the better for it.

Again and again, I consider the term “smart”phone. Are these phones so smart they make people do stupid things like walk into traffic? Some users can’t even name the street they are standing on. Employees know nothing about the company that employs them or products carried…deferring to the “smart”phone for the answer — or worse yet, telling me to ask a smartphone for the answer.

When phoning my state’s Attorney General because of a telemarketing scam, their Office of Consumer Protection could not explain the difference between a credit freeze and a credit hold. She had to Google it. If 81% of Americans now own a smartphone, I wonder how many can still think for themselves…assess a situation, then think deeply to find a solution without resourcing the phone.

January 18, 2020 – Pushiness Does Not Win me Over

If my android smartphone behaved like my PC where I turn it on, use the programs I need then call it a day, we might get along. But, this smartphone is like a braggadocio date constantly pummeling me with hype. Groan. I don’t look forward to our time together. Instead of extending a hand in friendship, this lurking, slurping, berserk monster tyrannizes me with snarls and bites.

Menacing monster snarling with jaws open to bite
Original photo by Adam McIntyre on Canva

January 20, 2020 – Isn’t Swiping for those Tinder People?

Swiping left — right — up — down makes my head spin. Finally I discover how to change all the swiping to buttons. Yes, I can deal with buttons. I think. But mine are getting pushed.

Fifteen percent of Americans interrupted sex to answer their cell phone. Really? I presume they were swiping. The woman in the restroom stall answering her cell phone was raunchy enough… Sheesh. I’m afraid to ask what’s next.

January 25, 2020 – An Unhealthy Relationship

Today, I’ve decided devices are NOT healthy or friendly and especially for HSPs who can already be too easily overwhelmed. Today, I’m not horrified, just frazzled. While my reasons are different, I definitely feel the link between tech devices and anxiety (and I barely engage with social media). The tracking-tracking-tracking and attempted reprogramming feel like I’m corralled with sheep for slaughter. I refuse to be a clone of whatever SM (social media or techno sado masochism — you decide) or the Evil Tech Sextet (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon) tell me to believe.

Far-reaching orange and brown monster
Original photo by Adam McIntyre on Canva

“We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our devices.” 

— the National Day of Unplugging website

I prefer burying my nose in the rose bushes or sun-warmed tomatoes and basil, thank you.


I’ve learned that I often get what I need. So, in a way it was no surprise to read the following message in The Five Invitations – Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully by Frank Ostaseski:

“…we end up addicted to busy.

“The smartphone, our most constant companion, is a shining example of this mentality. A recent survey of San Francisco residents found that on any given day, most people interact with their smartphones more than they do with other human beings. Half of the people surveyed admitted to using their phones to escape social interaction, and nearly a third said they felt anxious when they didn’t have access to their phones.

“Remember when computers were sold to us based on the idea that they would create more leisure time and greater human connectivity? I want my money back.”

I agree with Frank. Big Tech’s given me no reason to believe their phones are for my “convenience.” Remember the promise of a “paperless society”?

Ever stack up your junk mail? It all sounds great on the surface (marketing propaganda usually does)…but in reality I have wasted more time from companies breaching my data and it being sold on the dark web, to deleting phishing e-mails, to avoiding spam calls, and on and on. Why would I want to give up any more precious time and privacy, or put myself at further risk? This is why all the extra “capabilities” of a “smart” phone do not make sense or appeal to me. Seeing a family sitting together with each person’s eyes glued on their own smartphone saddens me.

The Natural Rhythm of Life

Frank Ostaseski quotes a late friend, Angeles Arrien, who often commented that “Nature’s rhythm is medium to slow. Many of us live in the fast lane, out of nature’s rhythm. There are two things we can never do in the fast lane:  we can neither deepen our experience nor integrate it.” He says she encouraged others to walk outside for an hour every day and spend at least a half hour in silence every day. “When we lose touch with the rhythms of nature, we become unbalanced,” she said. “To be fully present within our nature, we must be in balance with the land around us.”

Stream running through a forest
Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash

I think Angeles was on to something. Surely, I am not the only one in this minority of Neo-Luddites (or partial Neo-Luddite as I’m not an all or nothing gal, or maybe just group of self-reliant persons). This sentiment rings true with me when observing smartphone users:  “A cellphone signals my whole world is me and it excludes everyone else.” Remember the old tagline, “Reach out and touch someone”? Try it for real while you unplug this coming weekend. Your smartphone can’t hug you like a friend.


IUnplug-Live

 

 

10 Replies to “A Love Hate Diary of Dates with a Smartphone… (part 3)”

  1. Love your commentary and way of life with your smartphone. So glad you have stayed the “smart” one. Your encouraging comments indicate it is possible to keep it all in balance. Still, to tone down the unwanted involvement, I still need to figure out how to have the phone be more cooperative and stop sending me so many unwanted pieces of information… Life use to be so much simpler — pick up the phone, dial a number and talk to someone… 😮

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I use my phone to call people. And to text. I think that’s pretty normal.
    I fought against the “smart” phone for the longest of times. I finally gave in.
    Do I use the camera? sparingly, but yes. Do I use Google on it? Sometimes. Do I use the GPS function? It has definitely helped me when driving in the city which I do not know well. (But there were GPS machines before that.)
    Do I use it for social media? Nope.
    I think I use it all in moderation. Definitely a lot less than my peers. I see it as a good thing. It serves me, not I it. And I’m still the smart one in our relationship.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I got hopelessly lost last Fall going to a sunflower festival. I don’t have a smartphone and no GPS on my phone, but I had copied the directions down to the letter from Google Maps …there was a fork in the road and someone laid on the horn behind me without letting up. (Yes, annoying!) So, I took the road less traveled and never found the sunflower festival but discovered a metropark I had on my bucket list, so all was not lost (except I had bought a pass online beforehand.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes, you are absolutely correct. I did do research on my “PC” (not phone) which I am friendly with (but not the advanced laptop).

    I think you are dead on when you talk about using the phone as a “tool” to help rather than allowing it to dictate our lives. Still, I wonder how many realized that these devices were programmed to become addictive before entering that sphere, or did they blankedly trust.

    In the end I see tech’s greed and individual choice largely responsible for the eradication of common sense and manners.

    It sounds like you have a good handle on using your phone as a tool which is also evidenced by the beautiful photographs you take when appreciating, observing, and being awake in your environment. Kudos to you dear friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. so… if you did any research on this subject for this wonderful write, you visited your local library? and looked through books? or did you use a computer or even your phone? (lol)

    i loved reading your experiences with your phone. i agree, some are way to connected to their phones. i have heard/seen men, while using the toilet, both the stand up urinal and the sit down stall using their phones. conducting business while doing their business!! come on! some things can wait!

    we have become one of Pavlov’s dogs with the ringing of the phone and drop everything to answer it. the cashier at the store ringing up my sale, stops mid sale to answer the phone and carries on a conversation with the caller while i have to wait. grrrrrr….

    we have become slaves to the phone instead of using it as a tool to help with our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

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