One more time with feeling

Why I don’t own a cell phone… this seems to be an ongoing discussion among friends and family who feel I am somehow depriving myself of a life saving something or other. But honestly, it makes no sense to me so let me try again to help you understand why I hope to be the last person on earth to die without one.

First, I don’t travel very far alone anymore. I drive to the store and back and to the occasional midtown lunch. A cell phone is not needed to guide me there and if anything happened, I’m sure the police and ambulance will notify my next of kin. And, quite frankly, if anything did happen, calling anyone would be the last thing on my list.

Second, I am not important enough to need to be in constant contact with the world. I am not responsible for the nuclear codes. I am not the head of any country on earth. I hold no authority over how quickly the snow is plowed from your roads. In other words, I have no need for someone to get in touch with me on an immediate basis. But wait, I am told. What if it’s an emergency. What if someone was in an accident or died? Well, for starts, getting that info later rather than sooner will probably not change the outcome given that I am not an EMT to rush to the scene of an emergency nor am I a goddess who can revive the dead.

Three, being human I know I would want to check every time I heard a bing. And if I turned it off so I would never hear the bing, then I would just get shit from my friends and family who will want to know why I carry a cell phone if I never turn it on. It’s because I don’t want to be bothered. I’m barely willing to talk on the phone when I’m home and comfortable and relaxed. Even then I only answer certain calls. So you can imagine how thrilled I’d be to try to carry on a phone conversation in public – and to me, public is anywhere but in my office with the door closed. I don’t even want my birds to hear.

Finally, I find cell phones to be an intrusion into daily life that I can’t stop but I can definitely choose not to participate in. People everywhere will have a live human being in front of them but stop interacting with the real people to answer some text or call they receive. That is rude. Plainly. Simply. Rude. It’s telling the person in front of you that you are checking in case the thing on the phone is more important than they are. I can feel my blood pressure go through the roof every time someone looks at me as their phone bings and says, ever so apologetically, that they have to take just this one call or text. I then get to sit there and listen to their private conversation or I amuse myself arranging sugar packets until they finish texting. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just get up and leave while explaining they should contact me when they weren’t so busy.

So yes, I find cell phones a loud and intrusive part of modern life that I choose not to interact with. I imagine I’ll be long dead before the government starts to require that you carry one with you to get the Great Leader’s latest pronouncements as soon as they are tweeted.

But until then, I travel alone with just my books and my iPad filled with books I can read if I finish the paper ones quickly. I’m happy. I’m content. I get off planes without using one hand to quickly check all my texts and calls in case I was made pope on the way to Seattle. I sit at lunch fully present with my lunch date. I sit and watch the moon rise without any need to check my texts in case the moon decided not to rise on any particular night. When I am outside, I am present in the outside and not walking with my face stuck to a screen while missing the beauty that surrounds me.

You can have your cell phones. I’ll take my peace and quiet – which I’m pretty sure means I win.