I am not opposed to the progress of science and the incorporation of computers into our every day lives. I’m not opposed to people who work in offices who need to carry devices with them to check their emails on occasion. I’m going on my third year living without internet and I still somehow manage to stalk you all on Facebook for several hours a day. I know the value of being connected, and most of you know that I depend on the reliability of my two-year-old blogbook (aka my Netbook) pretty heavily.
I want to hug and kiss technology then high five Bill Gates for his contributions to the progress of humankind. All this being said, I firmly believe that all smartphones should be thrown in a mass grave and never reintroduced to society ever again.
Last week, at a bar, a relatively decent-looking young man struck up a conversation with me. Partway through the discussion I open up my phone to check the time, and he made a playful jab at my flip phone and asked if I still text in T9 (the answer is yes, by the way). He was probably just making playful conversation, but what he doesn’t know is how much I’ve studied the irresponsible production policies of Mac when they create iPhones and that the purchase of his smartphone contributed to human rights violations and poor environmental regulation in China. My new friend did not get my number.
And the poor production policies isn’t even what gets me. If I boycotted every company that I didn’t think manufactured its goods according my ethical standards I would probably end up sheering my own sheep to make wool for clothing and eating nothing but berries I found in the wild.
No, what really gets me is our freakin’ reliance on the dang things, as well as how much of our money gets funneled into them. I literally heard a young person recently say they couldn’t wait to get their first paycheck at their new job so they could get a newer iPhone. Excuse me? Let me buy you a flip phone (one that takes pictures, too!) and you can just give me that first paycheck of yours. I have a boatload of student loans that could use the payment.
When you don’t have a smartphone, you are forced to know where you are. You don’t need to stare down at your phone waiting for the next order the entire time you are walking to your destination that is a half mile away. You look it up before you go, and if the directions are complicated you write them down on a napkin. You don’t depend on your little rectangle of misery that is sucking you into itself and forcing you to be one with the phone.
People who have smartphones put them on a pedestal. To them, smartphones are gods and are to be worshipped. They are judges, and their word is the final word. All arguments can be settled with a smartphone, instantly deciding which person is victorious…and which is the loser. Smart phones tell you how the weather is going to be and you plan your day around what it says. You complain about the weatherman on TV, but the computer on your phone is always right. After all, it’s a smartphone.
When I travel, I read books (except for right now…at the moment I’m in an airport blogging about my hatred towards smartphones. See? The robot wins again). People with smartphones play games.
When I have an awesome experience, I take a photo on my digital camera or flip phone and upload them later. Folks with smartphones document their experiences to extremes and it gets to the point where the smartphone disciple doesn’t even experience the cool thing anymore because they are in a vicious routine of snapping a photo and uploading it to all of their oh-so-important social media websites the entire time they are having said cool experience.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…all at our fingertips. All of the time. Why socialize with the people around you when you can pretend to socialize with all 700 of your Facebook friends by putting a photo on your wall of the cool time you’re having? After all, you’re an incredibly important and popular person and everyone you’ve ever met needs to know what you’re eating for lunch today the second you take your first bite.
I won’t lie and say that they have no utility. You can get boarding passes for airplanes on them and look up traffic reports and play that one game where you slide the big boxes around to get the little box out of the big square.
It’s the reliance on them that ticks me off. A person doesn’t even need a phone at all to survive and be happy. But we get ourselves in this tangled mess where broke college students spend an entire paycheck getting a phone that makes them connected to this invisible network called the internet and cling onto it for dear life and proudly show off their phones and then get upset when their expensive piece of stupidity is lost or broken or doesn’t give them the right directions or god forbid it loses battery. Is it just me or do iPhone owners carry around their chargers a lot more than other people, not because they lose battery frequently but because they are deathly afraid of being disconnected to smartphoneland?
The next guy that talks to me at a bar and makes a joke about my $150 flip phone that still uses T9 will promptly get his smartphone tossed across the room and he’ll just stand there angrily wanting to post a Tweet about my blasephmous standpoint but won’t be able to because his phone will be in a zillion itty bitty pieces and then he’ll be happy because he’ll feel like a human again and he’ll probably hug me for disconnecting him and then maybe he’ll buy me a drink.