I recently transferred phone service on my Android smartphone to a Nokia feature phone a.k.a. a “dumbphone.” It is cute, but texting is painful. So much so that I have purchased a second, uglier, slideout keyboard model. Yes, those still exist. I never had one when they were de rigueur, likely because they were mostly favored by teenagers at the time. Travel will definitely be a challenge, but a stand-alone GPS and using my old smartphone on wi-fi should get me through.
I am willing to experiment because I am interested in breaking my dependency on a smartphone. I am distracted and fatigued by my social media habits and it is all so unnecessary. Moreover, I have robbed myself of time that I could have spent making and doing, talking and visiting with people in real life.
Recently, I invited a local social media “friend” — someone I hadn’t yet met in real life — to brunch at my house along with a group of my other actual friends. It worked out. She and her boyfriend came and had a great time meeting everyone. In a society where people are less inclined to talk to each other by phone (for some, this is something relegated to only one’s oldest friends and family, or something that triggers major anxiety), the gamble paid off.
In fact, the first day that I used the new/old phone, I attended a local event with some friends, where I ran into a guy whom I had met at a party years before. We talked. We texted. We went out. The relief that came with the IRL experience was palpable. A different kind of connection is made. Less disposable. Less commercial. Less fleeting. It’s a small change, that feels like a big change, but one that is paying pretty big dividends. I hope I can keep it up.