I’m not surprised that this post at Run Angry has garnered a huge number of comments already. Many people feel the way she does, and since similar minds tend to cluster together in the blog world, the effect of her post about smartphones and babble-technology in general there is predictably amplified. If I were plastered right now, I would post something akin to the following.
I hate talking on the phone, or at least that’s my baseline position when I’m not on one. I can be surprisingly animated once I’m talking, but in truth I wish I could go without a phone altogether. I am so conditioned to my own aversion that when the thing rings, I know who is calling, and I know I need to talk to her or him, I silence the ringer and call the person back in a few minutes. I usually yell “fuck you!” at the very sound of the device, even when I’m not doing anything more engrossing than reading the Onion and scratching my ass. I’m not kidding. (I shouldn’t actually have to add “I’m not kidding” about anything I write here. I’ll stop doing it.)
I use Cricket, because in the event I do wind up ditching the phone, perhaps because it will serve as a tracking collar in the event I one day have to take measures to avoid the reach of the law, I won’t have to beg my way out of a contractual obligation. I also pay about $50 a month for unlimited talk, text and Web and I’m probably involved in fewer than 10 actual conversations and one Web session a month, and I can’t stand texting either. The problem is that a phone to me is like a tetanus booster or a condom or something: I very rarely need one, but I can’t risk being without it because the need is only a matter of time.
I intentionally have a phone which, while Internet-capable, doesn’t even let me read GMail or offer any functionality beyond basic surfing. I’m on my laptop so often that it’s actually a blessing to be “not connected” for periods of time. The last thing I need is APPS. Every time I’m on a message board and see people slavering over their new smartphones or iPhones and asking “What are some cool apps??” I want to punch them in the fucking face. Good job, asshole! You’ve just established that you’re a goddamned sucker. The idea is to identify your needs and then try to fill them, NOT buy a Really Cool Device and then go searching for needs to fill. I don’t care that you can use your phone to find the nearest ATM that doesn’t charge less than $1.25 or more than $2.15 for out-of-network transactions. For those vital matters, I use my fucking feet and my eyes. The day I need a phone to find where my car is parked is the day I quit leaving the house except to run, and I’m almost there as it is.
I’m not saying I’m better than any of you who dig this shit; I was writing primitive computer programs long before most of my young peers had ever used them (I’m waaaaaay behind that curve now, but no matter) and gadgetry will always fascinate me at the level of design if not deployment. What I am saying is that you are far worse than me. I can understand why people enjoy these toys, but I can’t see spending the money to acquire one and keep the flow going. There are people with legitimate reasons for having PDAs handy at all times, from prosecutors to ghost whisperers. But most people aren’t among those people.