Notes on an iPhone-less Existence

Last night at High Horse, some truly amazing friends and I decided to stack all of our cell phones in the middle of the table in the hopes of better enjoying our beers, each other, and whatever was happening around us. Mine was practically the only phone that was not considered ‘smart.’

Technology, I don’t need to tell you, is amazing. You can access anything with the touch of a button. There’s no longer an excuse for not knowing things, because you can look everything up in approximately 3.2 seconds. When the world is at your fingertips, who can blame you for not checking it out as frequently as possible?

But when you’re not a proud owner of the latest technology, it’s normal to sometimes feel like an outsider, perhaps more old-fashioned or ‘behind the times’ than your friends. I’ve felt that way, and presumably some of my friends, their friends, and their friends’ friends who don’t have iPhones or Blackberrys also feel that way. It’s also something, by the way, that will never go away as long as Apple is in business. There’s always gonna be something bigger, brighter, and sexier on the market. I have, on many an occasion, considered investing in an iPhone, mainly for the “What is this song? Tell me!” scanning app that I still can’t fully wrap my brain around. I haven’t, largely because they are pretty expensive and I have a destructive penchant for bulk online shopping that the iPhone cannot satisfy.

At the dinner table, the library, or even a random stairwell, iPhones have seemingly replaced verbal articulation. I’ll be out to lunch and see two people on a date, both clutching their iPhones instead of talking to each other, their faces lit up with enthusiasm and an insanely pixelated screen. While disturbing to some extent, this is less a function of iPhones specifically but rather the technological age in which we now live. Like all enlightened eras, this is something we will have to grow accustomed to. Balancing human and technological interaction is certainly nothing new to civilization. Presumably when the Wright brothers invented the first airplanes, it was all they could do to cut out on that Saturday afternoon garden party to fly around in the backyard. But it is something, I think, that has gained more importance in light of truly fascinating technologies. Yesterday at the gym I saw a commercial for a new smart phone by Sprint featuring the slogan “restoring the meaning of life” coupled with images of friends, family, and significant others.

I love my friends, therefore via the transitive property I also love their iPhones. I really appreciated the initiative taken to temporarily abandon technology to better enjoy each others’ company. That moment provided a valuable life lesson: if the latest iPhone craze bothers you, don’t complain about it- instead, seek out new and creative ways of returning together to the faces behind the screens. Don’t be a hater, be an embracer.