The Pioneer Woman stars in a cooking show and Sherry Cervi is a barrel racing legend, but my claim to fame is that I have never owned a smart phone. Instead, I’ve used the same blue Samsung slide-out for the last 6 years. I bought it brand-new without a payment plan, because it cost $35. I have thrown it against the floorboards up the pickup, handed it to teething babies for a chew toy, and misplaced it for days on end.
My trusty old phone’s seeming inability to destruct isn’t the only reason I keep it around, though. After several years of rarely living within cell service, I’m not in the habit of constantly packing a phone. And I like it.
When I wait to be seen at the doctor’s office or am in line at the Walmart pharmacy, I don’t scroll through Facebook or tweet about the experience. Instead, my attention wanders and I journey to a state of mind that is becoming desolate and forbidden in modern America. It’s called “boredom.” I invite you to join me there – it’s boring and relaxing and wonderful.
I miss out on a lot of status updates and pictures of other people’s kids doing adorable things, but I get to actually witness my own kids doing adorable things, so I guess it’s worth the sacrifice.
This lifestyle choice is unusual, though, and I understand it runs counter to the modern American culture of hyperconnectivity. My husband and I recently ate lunch together at a restaurant, and we didn’t bring our phones in with us. While sitting at the table in broad daylight, we boldly looked each other in the eye and did something unusual and so rarely seen in public these days that it bordered on obscene.
We stood out like a pair of life jackets at a chili cook-off. Before we could make other diners uncomfortable, a waiter quickly brought us each a smart phone. Jim, tech-savvy cowboy that he is, immediately downloaded a team roping game. I struggled in vain to use my device, but I couldn’t make it past the cryptic numerical pattern required for entry. Eventually, I gave up and attempted to resume conversing in public with my husband.
“What did you order for lunch?” I asked.
“Dang, plus five!” Jim replied.
Shoot. Now even my hubby was sucked into the smart phone dimension, never to return until the chute help took a virtual break.
There are times when a smart phone and a selection of apps sure would have come in handy, though. Once, while driving through Phoenix, I got so turned around and confused without Google Maps to guide me that I pulled over and cried. I found my destination and came up with a long-term solution, though: don’t go to Phoenix.
Apps can include more than maps, and while “there’s an app for that” usually holds true, I’m not sure it applies to my life in the extremely remote American West. As a ranch wife traveling 2 1/2 hours one way to town, I need an app that tells me the melting rate of the ice cream I packed into the cooler between four gallons of milk and three blocks of cheese. When driving on dirt roads at dusk, I could use an app that alerts me to the presence of antelope and their proximity to my vehicle.
Well, I guess there is an app for those things, and it’s even free. Now, if only I could figure out how to write “common sense” into computer code and market it to Apple, I’d have so much money that I could buy the biggest cooler Yeti makes to haul all my ice cream – or maybe make the first month’s payment on a smart phone.
“They make phones WITHOUT CORDS that you carry around in your POCKET?!”