Wasn’t it wonderful? (The good) life without a cell phone

June 2019 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Carl Sampson

The other day I left my cell phone at home. It was the best mistake I ever made.

To me, a cell phone is a leash, a cinder block tied to my leg as I try to do important things, only to be distracted by constant beeping, dinging and vibrating.

Some people apparently need to know what Kim Kardashian is doing at the very moment she posts on Instagram about it, when I don’t understand why anyone would ever care about anything she has ever said or done.

Other people say they need to know what President Trump is thinking. He doesn’t even seem to know most of the time.

Then there are the robot calls that flood cell phones.
I will never stay at another “Brand X” hotel as long as I live. I have gotten so many robo calls from that company I feel as though I would rather sleep in my car than set foot in one of its establishments.

The same goes for every other company that uses The Most Annoying Form of Marketing Ever. I’m keeping a list and will never give any of them a dime’s worth of business.

And then there are the many “important” instant messages I receive. Unless it comes from my wife or one of the kids, I don’t care. Anyone else can send me an email at work and I’ll get it soon enough.

And don’t even mention Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which all boil down to electronic piffle. People selling stuff I don’t want or need, grandparents bragging about their grandkids…. I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it.

Without my phone, I was able to spend an entire day concentrating on the work at hand without being bugged.

And when I went for my daily walk at noon I was able to enjoy the little park near where I work. I was even friendly to the bums that park their shopping carts and sprawl across the grass on a nice day.

A day without a cell phone was like a vacation – except I got more work done in less time and was less annoyed.

There was a time when cell phones were pretty much reserved for important things. If someone was hurt, or in a car wreck I could get the word out. Or if I was running late to an appointment, I could call and let them know.

Now, a cell phone has a bunch of “apps” that are occasionally useful – I know when someone is at the front door, for example. That’s great if someone is ripping off the mail or a package on the front steps, but otherwise I don’t care.

Nor do I care how many rubles there are in a dollar (a lot), which my phone also provides. Or that the stock market is up. It goes up and down all of the time. As long as it goes up more than down, everything is fine.

I remember life without cell phones. It was wonderful. Messages would be waiting on the phone answering machine whenever I got back to the house or the office, and I could ignore them as needed.

When I got home that night, my cell phone was waiting for me on the dining room table. I dutifully checked it for important messages, and there were none. The robo callers hadn’t left any messages either. No surprise there.

And Kim Kardashian was still doing meaningless things and letting the world know about it.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Stayton.

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