A Love Hate Diary of Dates with a Smartphone… (part 2)

This mini diary on my Luddite introduction with a Smartphone is in honor of the upcoming National Day of Unplugging (first Friday in March).

Continuing from Part 1 that ended on June 6, 2019…

July 13, 2019 – Contemplating Compatibility

At the drum circle a friend inquires, “How did you like your Smartphone?”

“Not much. I could barely use it in Scotland. I’m back with the Trac.”

A phone “gabber” I’m not unless someone is too long distance to meet in person. For me, a phone, any phone is a practical tool to make plans for getting together. Exchange smiles. Or tears. Or hugs. Communicate human to human. I’ll get along without a Smartphone. So I think.

August-September 2019 – Unavailability

More often than not, the Tracfone indicates “NO SERVICE” even for local calls — hardly helpful in an emergency (my only local need or desire for a non-landline phone).

September 15, 2019 – There’s nothing like a piece of paper…

Woman holding note of apology for backing into a car
Original photo by Lukas from Pexels

“Sorry I couldn’t make the drum circle yesterday,” a fellow drummer says. “I was on my way [to a new location] when my phone battery died…I didn’t have the address or a way to call you so I turned around and went home.”

A 94 mile trek for nothing. Glad I don’t rely on a phone. 

Notebook and pen on table near coffee cup
Original photo by David Bares from Pexels

Quite frankly, I love pen and paper. Always have. Always will. Like a loyal dog and best friend it’s always there, never intrusive, comes when I call it.

The young couple denting someone’s car in the parking lot had no paper or pen to leave a note. Hit and runs — whether in parking lots or worse yet, as pedestrian fatalities, are rising. I wonder how much is attributed to Smartphone use and/or a lack of paper…

November 6, 2019 – A New Blind Date

Emptying out my deceased brother’s apartment, I inherit his Samsung Smartphone. His helpful business partner clears it and helps transfer the 429 minutes I rarely use on my flip phone. Maybe, just maybe this will work.

December 7, 2019 – Roving Eyes

My Canon PowerShot camera conks out. The few photos I take on the Samsung are meh. Now what to do? Tracfone doesn’t offer international coverage, and I’m not going back to Mobal. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are over. Do I pay several hundred dollars for a camera fix or replacement, and still have to lug it with a phone…in the limited space of a carry-on? My cost-consciousness wrestles with tech’s marketing message that says I want convenience.

December 9-29, 2019 – Background Checks

Large purchases call in my research skills. Admiring a fellow blogger’s exquisite photos, he tells me many are with a Google Pixel 3XL Smartphone.

I waffle with indecision over the expense. Do I really need this? Do I really want a monthly bill? I do want quality photos.

I further inquire about Smartphones. “Oh yes, I love my phone,” friends say. The Verizon rep touts the new Google Pixel 4XL and a hefty monthly charge. Best Buy confirms the phone I’ve told myself I want is already outdated. I’ve got one foot on the carousel and already it’s whirling too fast.

My flight date closes in. Finally taking the plunge, I order the Pixel 3XL to arrive in time. After all, we need to get acquainted before traveling together.

January 13, 2020 – Dead End Date

Brand new box for Google Pixel 3XL with cords and components but no ID of parts

Taking a deep breath, I open the box. There are strange looking cords. A diagram with no wording. What does all this mean? The hefty booklet that I hope will be instructions is legal disclaimer. Groan. I turn on the Smartphone anyway to set it up. It stops and won’t proceed. Off and on. Off and on. It’s frozen. We’re not starting off well.

Shocked face of elderly woman

January 14, 2020 – It’s one thing to be a Luddite, but now a grandmother too?

The Geek Squad guy tells me, “Don’t worry. I had to do this for my grandmother too.” Groan. An hour later I walk out thinking I’m all set.  And then I get home and pull out my scribbled notes…

January 15, 2020 – Stalked!

I turn on the phone. What? Photos I took on the Mobal phone in Scotland now appear on this phone. Including my recently deceased dog. Not what I hoped to see. How did this happen? Suddenly, I remember fooling around with Google’s Picasso years ago when it grabbed my financial documents with photos and placed them on the Internet. I was horrified! Not again! 

Masked terrorist spreading red smoke into the air
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash


Original feature photo by Jason Tharsiman on Unsplash

Full Service

Happy gas pump via human interaction

Friday was the kind of day beckoning a toasty hat, and if you left it behind your ears would wonder why. I’ll be honest. Climate change does concern me. But seeing more green grass than snow this winter was appeasing — and particularly when approaching the age where snow is more perilous than pleasant. The dry but blustery 10 degree cold made it the kind of day I didn’t want to pump my own gas yet the car cried empty.

I’m not suggesting I’m declining or even readying retirement but I am a “boomer.” I grew up when a full service gas station meant getting windows washed — front and back, and an oil check with a tank of gas. As a bonus, they might even check and fill the tires’ air pressure. Those almost forgotten services exist only in memory and especially on a frigid day.

When I pulled up to the fuel pump at the Gas & Food Express, the young guy gingerly attended my car and the one across the island. Whether he was a Young Millennial or Gen Y, I couldn’t tell nor how he could stand the cutting cold. Hopefully that tiny booth for the cash register blasted heat. His medium-weight jacket looked anemic to me knowing I shivered walking 40 feet from home to car.

Contemplating how he felt working a shift in the below freezing temps, I wished I had a hot drink to offer. Instead, I reached into my purse and handed him a few bucks with the signed credit card receipt. “Thank you for being so pleasant on a very cold day,” I said. “Please get yourself a hot drink.”

“Well, thank you. Thank you, miss,” he responded.

Internally echoing cheerful surprise, I wondered if he knew the gift he gave an aging gal.

I find common courtesies previously taken for granted are often passé. Little in-between gestures of human significance make all the difference in a high tech world of downcast eyes and empty idioms such as “Here you go” instead of “Thank you.” It may have been a 10-second interaction but I drove away fueled with appreciation for a new kind of full service.


Multilingual without Words…

I communicate in many languages.  But my lexicon doesn’t contain words per se.  No, I’m not talking about texting but of a communication so beautiful no words are necessary.

In seasonal poetry gatherings each of us brings a random poem to read aloud.  The words we share are not our own but the understanding we glean from the words of others.  While some may be serious, others witty, or thought provoking — and on any topic of choosing, a common thread soon appears.  Ah, no doubt the Universe is at play here we chuckle each time we recognize the unintentional theme that connects us together.

The languages I convey do not use technology, social media, or heaven forbid a cell phone.  A verbal silence in hand drumming makes room for magic.  When words do not appear, the voice of the drums speaks profoundly through our creative energy.  Rhythms intertwine, calling, responding, supporting, expressing, wandering, somewhere…but together.

Standing in my kitchen, I cook.  My focus is lovingly preparing a tasty meal, and setting a table that honors the food and the ones it nourishes.  Sitting together then and savoring  this offering of utilitarian sensory art reveals the unseen ingredient.

Sharing the bounty of my garden, holding the door open for someone, offering a smile, anyone can understand.  I do not need to say one word to communicate with anyone anywhere.  All of us can speak the same language when we do not use words.





Don’t Jump in if You Don’t Want to Jump Out

Five people sharing a meal together but interacting with their smartphones rather than each other

Dr. Perry’s post on “Steps to Overcome Technology Addiction” confirms the feelings I’ve had about technology for a long time.  It is sadly deteriorating society, our peace, and our minds.  I wonder how this will affect the elderly when the tech generation rules.  How much empathy and compassion will be shown?  Will that be nonexistent like good manners?

More and more businesses and government herd people to the internet.  Blind “followers” are too willing to give up their personal information and freedoms.  I wonder what these techie minds will do when their computers are hacked.  Will they know how to think and problem solve on their own?  Seeing how people stumble into traffic while looking at their phones is a telltale sign.  People barely know their street address  or phone number anymore.

Many times I’d like to disconnect from e-mail as it robs me of precious time where I could be enjoying more fulfilling activities and interactions.  As previously shared, I’ve consciously chosen to avoid most social media for these and the reasons stated in the post.  Reading it reaffirms that my decisions have been worthy.  I hope reblogging it will help someone before they fall hopelessly into the black hole of disassociating with living real life.  I must continually uphold my values for connecting with humans and nature.  That is what brings me serenity and joy — not a nerve-wracking bell tieing me to a device even if it is only a PC.

Still, I don’t want to fall so far behind that I can no longer function in a technological world.  Trying to balance technology working for me without becoming enslaved to it is a constant struggle.  I use a landline and answering machine.  It works fine.  I don’t answer my pay as you go cell phone because it’s only for emergencies. When someone looks at me as not being “with it” then is distracted answering their cell phone or text, I wonder “who is the one not with it?” For a split second I may be tempted to fall into the traps of technology, but my go-to motto saves me: “Don’t jump in if you don’t want to jump out.”