Monday, March 8, 2010



I almost did it. I'm still not sure how I got so swept away, but I almost did it. Perhaps it was that sweet e-mail from Verizon telling me that my "new every two" time has arrived and I can upgrade my phone. Perhaps it was the visions of a life that somehow required 24/7 access, a portable GPS system, and the constant ability to use Facebook. I don't want that life, yet somehow I almost did it anyway.

I started researching Smartphones. After all, if you're going to upgrade, then you might as well upgrade. They do amazing things. Seductive things. Sexy things. They are a statement accessory. They're a power accessory. Oh, I can do this! Oh, I can find out the weather in Okinawa at the touch of a button! Oh, I can download my Excel spreadsheets (which I don't understand on a 25" monitor, much less a screen the size of my hand) and manipulate the document! Oh, I can speak to it! I can say, "flowers" and it'll google search for florists. (And just how often in the last year have I needed to do a google search for flowers? Zero.)

I did the math. A Blackberry Curve was going to be free with my "new every two" plan. I'd have to buy a data plan of course, which added $29.99 per month, but I thought I'd cancel my land line and end up ahead.

I went to my friendly neighborhood Verizon store. I thought I would give the money locally. Turned out, my friendly neighborhood Verizon store cannot offer the same deals can. In order to give them my money, it was going to cost me $200. $200 versus free. Makes it hard to do the right thing.

I was able to play with the Blackberry and the new Droid. I wanted to fall in love with them. I'd already decided I wanted this, so they already had me at "hello". But they lost me at funky-dysfunctional-counter-intuitive operating system. Blackberrys and Droids are palm devices. Palm devices are PC-compatible systems. I started researching issues between Blackberry and Droid and the Mac and found quite a number of problems. My Macs aren't going anywhere. They're like the cats. They come with me everywhere.

(Digression: APPLE: Please! Release the iphone on Verizon. AT & T doesn't work well in Prescott!)

But OK, new diversion! I want an iphone because they're adorable. And I understand how to use them. And they're adorable. Did I mention they're adorable? My whole universe is Mac-based. Every time I've cheated on Mac, I've ended up having to buy a Mac anyway and wasting the money on the PC that never does what it's supposed to do and makes my head hurt.

But OK, really, I don't need an iphone either. (Maybe I need an ipad, or an ipod touch? Please? Don't I?) I drive a mile to work each way. I talk on the phone regularly to three people. I already have internet access 24 hours a day at home. And yes, at work. I don't travel much for my work. I live in a town with six primary streets. You just can't get too lost here. As much as I might like to believe I'm living in Hayes Valley in San Francisco, or in Manhattan or Brooklyn, I'm just not. I don't need constant access to the train schedules. I don't need to tweet anyone. I don't even need to text anyone.

The woman who owns my friendly neighborhood Verizon store was going to give me a deal. She still couldn't do free (who can?). I liked her. She let me play with the phones. She gave me a lot of information. But I couldn't do it. Not that I couldn't buy from her. I couldn't buy it at all. I watched myself getting ga-ga with all they could do. Then I watched the tightness in my chest over all they could do. I watched the distraction-quotient in my life suddenly escalate a thousand-fold. If I had this thing, I'd feel like I needed to use this thing.

And I don't need it.

I don't like talking on cell phones. I like land lines better. I don't like having to charge something all the time. I don't like being available all the time.

And I don't need it.

I am not the CEO of anything. I don't have kids who need to find me. Last time I checked, the cats are pretty indifferent to whether I am there or not. They certainly won't try to text me, or Skype me, or even friend me. I rarely take pictures and I'm not a designer.

I felt the glaze-over start. The siren-call of the new gadget. The potential of it. The status of it. The whisper of all it could do to help my life run smoother.

I don't need it. My life runs about as smooth as anyone can ever hope for. I don't need it.

As I left the cell phone store, I felt like I was stepping out of a tar pit.

They almost got me! Damn! How did that happen?

They almost got me. But they didn't.


Nancy T said...

Oh Laraine, you are so strong! Stronger than I am. I've had an iPhone for about two years and have a Serious Addiction. I mean I practically sleep with the darn thing ( did we mention the adorable-ness?). However, its truly useful when travelling, even to Phoenix, and also I find myself referencing the web while reading books (look up words; place hold at library) so doesn't that exonerate my addictive behaviors a tiny bit??? Huh?? Please?

RN said...

I was checking in a new client last week at the veterinary clinic where I work. She gave me her phone # and I asked if it was her home or cell number to which she replied, "I don't have a cell phone." Gasp-sputter-choke. I couldn't believe it! She wasn't 90 either, she must have been 30-something. I loved her immediately! Envied her even, the freedom she must enjoy. You made a good choice. And besides, that iPad would make a great Christmas present for yourself at the end of the year;)

Jeannie said...

I love you, Laraine, you and your way of reasoning. I, too, wrestled with dropping my land line and "upgrading" my cell features but I couldn't connect like that - too much something interfering with my personal cosmic connection. I don't Twitter, I delete all invites from well intentioned friends to join their Facebook pages, and I've yet to text anyone.

Do I like technology? You bet! I don't think I could live without my computer but, like you, I rarely talk to anyone on my cell and I don't need to access the 3W that badly to warrant a higher monthly cellphone bill. Huzzah to you for standing strong.

陽明山花季 said...