The Non-Smart Phone Revolution

Now this may blow your mind, but my husband and I don’t have smartphones.

It all started when we left for a month long road trip into the US where we didn’t want to pay our outrageous cell phone bill – including data – that we weren’t going to use. So, I sold our iPhones, put our plan down to the lowest it could be (which was roughly half), and put two flip phones on our lines.

Once we arrived back in Canada, we just didn’t see the point of going back to using smartphones.  We lived in our van for the summer and you could say we were living a hippy lifestyle.  We didn’t completely eliminate technology from our lives. We used the iPad or our laptops at coffee shops or at our friend’s house.

We adapted.

Now, 5 months later, we are still without mobile internet and it has completely changed the way we look at the world.

Without mobile internet, my husband and I have become smarter.

We don’t have the ability to “just Google it” when having a discussion where we may not agree with the answers.

We have to use our brains and our mind maps a couple seconds longer when trying to recall who that actor was in that movie.

Without GPS, we have to remember how to get places, or use our own educated knowledge to find a location. When rental hunting in a new city, we found all of the addresses without the use of a digital map or GPS in the car.

Without mobile internet, we have become more social.

We live in an age where the number of people you connect with online directly correlates with people’s perception of how “social” we are.  We have to make a conscious effort to leave our phones in our pockets when we go out with our friends and feel like we are extraordinary humans when we can do that for a couple of hours.

The bars that have the lock boxes for phones always make me laugh.  Why do we need such an incentive or gimmick to make us look our friends in the face and talk about things that are happening in our lives, not “look at what Sarah is doing right now” while cruising her Instagram and ignoring the people right in front of you.

My husband and I are always on the lookout for couples on “dates,” seemingly understanding of their partner’s incessant need to see what’s going on in the Twitterverse, iMessage-land or Insta-Blackhole.

I’m not sure how conversations develop – or if they do. The constant distraction and wayward thought process must make for riveting conversation.

I’m actually not sure how we ever did it. What I do know is that there is a blatant difference in the way our dates play out now in comparison to our pre-medieval cross over.

Without mobile internet, we have become more self-aware.

This disassociation from reality that we’ve created is actually frightening. Our lives are defined by what we post to our “friends” and what we see them posting.

There used to be a time when we self-reflected sitting on the bus or walking to the store, using this time to decompress, think about our day, think about the conversations we had.

Now we fill this time with constant scrolling and comparing, sizing ourselves up to the internet masses of whom we will always be lesser humans.

When my husband and I are on a date and he goes to the washroom, I actually have time to digest the conversation we just had, to look out the window of the restaurant, or simply sit and people-watch the rest of the patrons with that southern glow lit up on their face.

Old habits die hard though. In that moment when he leaves for the washroom, muscle memory tells me I’m supposed to be reaching into my purse or my pocket and fishing out that little rectangle that holds all of life’s mysteries.

I smile when I realize that I didn’t even bother bringing it along. What urgent information would I need to text my mom about in those brief 5 minutes anyway?

I wonder when or if people will start to get the same feeling as we did and make changes. Real changes, not a “putting your phone in a lockbox” change.

As we progress (used lightly) in technology and futuristic inventions like embedded RFID microchips become a closer reality, I think we are turning a blind eye to the freedoms that we are giving up and the human element of life that we are leaving behind.

Do we really need to be connected 24/7? What implications will this freakish level of connectedness have on our future generations? When will being “unplugged” be more than a trendy badge on your hipster scout’s handkerchief?

If you really wanted the answers, I’m sure you could just “Google it.”


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