My love Marcus and I were out walking last night. We started out on a country road, near the place where we are house sitting, intending just to catch the last bit of sunset time. After a while we decided to walk to the spa/hot springs where I work, about a mile down the highway. This got us talking about the strange beauty of landscapes interrupted by the things of civilization. And Mad Max, and the Rainbow Gathering we’d just been to last week, and that one of our favorite things about Rainbow was its post-apocalyptic vibe. Very different from the Oregon Country Fair, which was more like a bunch of fairies who decided to make a really pretty shopping mall in the middle of the woods, complete with great live music at every corner. But I don’t mean to make it sound like I preferred the Rainbow gathering over the Fair, just so you know.
Speaking of the apocalypse, we got on the topic of changes that we might end up seeing in our lifetime. Lots of things came up, but then Marcus mentioned he figured it might not be too long till they make it impossible to use flip phones. I was a little horrified to imagine this could be true. At first I had a hard time understanding why anyone would bother getting rid of them, but it makes sense. The more all our activities are hooked into the global communication system, the easier it is for the powers that be to keep track of us. Not that I know much or think too much about any of these things, (I’m not a big conspiracy theory person, I don’t have that much brain space for it) but I’d imagine that flip phones and land lines probably make things slightly more difficult.
So, the way I figure it, it’s kind of a tiny revolutionary act, to resist the trend to have a smartphone. My housemate Monica has discovered this herself, recently. She lost her smartphone a few weeks ago, and decided to get a flip phone to replace it. She told me she was inspired by me, and just observing how much simpler life can be with a flip phone.
Actually, when I first emerged from the wilderness, I entertained the notion of not buying into the whole “gotta have a phone” mentality at all. I’d lived for 23 years without one, why did I need to get one now? Couldn’t I just decide to only use email for communicating with anyone who needed to get ahold of me?
Well, sure, that could possibly work, but I quickly began to see that if I wanted to live in an actual house and find someone to employ me so I could pay rent, a phone would be really helpful. So, a few days after landing in Oregon, I rode my bicycle to Radio Shack and signed up for the cheapest flip phone they had. And, I’ll admit, although I’m quite proud of my flip phone, it is really annoying to text people with, and to receive texts with. It’s insanely slow to type things in, and when people send emoticons or other things that are not text to my phone, they show up as empty little boxes. When people send long texts to me, there are usually several missing words. But this is ok, because most of the people in my immediate world know not to send me long texts, or to expect any answer from me that is longer than five words.
So here are the benefits, as I see them, to owning a flip phone:
- it’s less tempting to spend lots of time on the phone, especially while doing other things. I haven’t even figured out how to use the speaker option on my phone (if it even has one, I’m not sure), which makes it so I actually have to focus on who I’m talking to, instead of something else I could be accomplishing.
- it’s less tempting to talk with people using text messaging, so people in my life don’t expect to hear from me in that mode. If they really want or need to hear more than five words from me, they can call me. Eventually I will call them back.
- so, the benefit of all this, is that there is less time spent on the phone, less time spent doing computer-related research and things, and more time for real-time LIFE!
So, right then and there, on our walk to Jackson
Wellsprings last night, I decided to become a voice of celebration for the flip phone. I don’t really expect people to trade in their smartphones. And I’m not here to tell other people how to live. But I do hope that in celebrating my own choices in life, others might be a little more inspired. I can’t even say for sure that I’ll never feel like I don’t need an “upgrade”, but for now, I’m pretty glad that I don’t.
But I have to admit, I have my opinions… I do feel like if we all quit making phone calls and texting while we were cooking supper and taking care of the kids, there could be some pretty amazing changes. And same, if more of us quit driving to places that were just a mile down the road, and walked, and stopped every now and then, just to dance to the tune of the revolving universe, and take in the beauty of the sunset.
Of course, the sides of the roads might get a little more crowded, and maybe a bit more dangerous. But a little more presence and simplicity, and a little more festival or celebratory spirit in our daily reality? It just might be a good thing.
For a less preachy, very complete run-down on more aspects of Flip-phone reality, see this great article “11-Things the Girl with the Flip Phone Wants You to Know”.