As of today, for the first time ever, I have a smartphone.
I’m not going to get into what kind it is, or what features it has, or any of that, because (1) that’s beside the point of what I want to write about; (2) one of the things that bothers me the most about smartphone culture is the way people obsess over this sort of thing; and (3) if it ends up being a piece of crap, I don’t want to hear everyone’s I-told-you-sos and suggestions. If I know you personally, I might be willing to discuss this in private.
There are a lot of reasons I held out for so long. The main reason was that money was tight for a long time. I was working at a private school, making a lot less money than I am now. I didn’t have a lot of money left at the end of the month, and paying more to get Internet on my phone just wasn’t the top priority. It seems like, over the course of the last several decades, life has just gotten a lot more expensive in general, as things that were once seen as luxuries for the wealthy are now expected to be necessities.
I also don’t like what I call smartphone culture, in general. People these days seem to be obsessed with their phones. A lot of people don’t pay attention to their surroundings because they depend on their phones to tell them everything. Smart phones, dumb people. I don’t want to turn into that. Also, certain phone manufacturers even seem to inspire a cult-like devotion among their users. People with perfectly good phones that work just fine line up for hours every few months whenever a new phone is released, so they can blow their money on something that’s half an inch longer and about 5% faster. (I know, I know, there’s a dirty joke somewhere in that.) It’s ridiculous, and it’s scary how phone manufacturers have been able to brainwash people like this. I had a dumbphone that I bought in 2011 when it was already somewhat outdated technology. It works just fine. The battery typically lasts at least three days. And I was paying $27/month for unlimited text and far more voice minutes than I ever used. And people were constantly giving me funny looks, wondering why I had never “upgraded” to a phone that would cost about three times as much per month with 10% of the battery life.
So why did I suddenly get a smartphone now? Because one thing I’ve learned about myself recently is that I tend to assume things and sabotage myself, and I’m not willing to try new things because of my assumptions about what things will be like. Despite all my hangups about smartphones, there are plenty of times I’ve wished I had one. I can afford it now. Worst case scenario, if I hate it, I’ll do something else after a couple years. And as for turning into the kind of person who doesn’t pay attention, I don’t think that will ever happen to me. I held out on getting a cell phone of any kind until 2003 for the same reason, and 12 years of using dumbphones didn’t stop me from paying attention, so I don’t think having a smartphone will either.
Let’s see how this turns out.