In the first half of the first decade of this particular millennium (translation: the early- to mid-2000s), people were acquiring a piece of technology that I was shunning:
The Cell Phone.
I didn’t want one. I didn’t see the use for one. I was living at home, and anyone that needed to get a hold of me could do it there. I knew that phone number, had memorized it at age 8 when we moved into the house. I was not important enough to be reachable at every second of every day. I did not (repeat: NOT) want (or need!) a cell phone.
Resist, resist, resist.
But then I started making friends in Chicago, and I was driving back and forth to work, and my parents decided (in their infinite wisdom) that I needed a phone for emergencies. And so for Christmas in 2005 (I’m pretty sure, at least), I received a pay-as-you-go Tracfone.
Yes, that was the phone I received. A little Nokia blue brick that you could probably drop from a 10-story building, run down, and make a call on without skipping a beat. It came in a package with two actual (identical) phones, a SIM card, a battery, and a charger. Another part of the gift was a card with some phone minutes, and I set it up and got my own phone number. The display was black text on a green background. No camera, no apps, no nothing. It could call, it stored phone numbers, and it could text, and that was really more than I felt I needed.
And then I moved out, and that became my phone. The number I gave to people and put on official forms and if you wanted to reach me, that was the number you called. I still didn’t always pick it up, and sometimes I forgot that I’d put it on silent – for days. It got me through two solo apartments, and accompanied me when I went down to Chicago for two years of school. And it was my phone.
And it still IS my phone.
At some point, it became an obtuse badge of honor that I was still using my first (and only!) cell phone. People around me got flip phones and Sidekicks and then they moved to smartphones, and I stubbornly stayed with my indestructible Nokia pay-as-you-go phone. No contracts for me! No fancy bells and whistles! I refused! In an echo of yester-year, I maintained that I don’t need to be available at every second of the day (this time via email or messaging). Nor do I want to be available that much. My peace of mind requires downtime. Solo time. Time for me to be with myself and not forced to respond if someone emails me.
And I’ve been afraid that if I do get a smartphone, that I will become one of those people that never put it down. I love the internet. I love email. What would happen if I had access to it at every single moment of the day? Would people start to expect me to email at the drop of a hat? Would I be unable to hang out with someone, have a meal, converse, without the phone on the table or in my hand? I don’t want to be that person!
And yet, I’m looking to do more art shows. And people (myself included) don’t carry cash as much as they used to. Hardly anyone writes actual paper checks. The “money” of choice is plastic. And I worry that if I start doing shows without the capability to accept credit cards, I’ll lose sales. And I don’t want to lose sales! And there’s this handy app called Square that you can use to accept credit card payments, but it requires an iPhone or iPad or certain types of other smartphones… ((And smartphones have cameras – I could take pictures without having to haul around a camera… that’s tempting too. 😀 ))
So I’m thinking about it.
I’m aiming for a show toward the end of May, and it’s up in the air right now what sort of phone I’ll have at that point.