Topic: Imagine life without your cell phone, computer, iPod…

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

OK.  You could take my cell phone and I’d probably live…if I had a land line…which I don’t anymore because I live like a young person.

I could give up the instant gratification of being able to call someone the minute the thought of calling them entered my mind.

I could do without driving in my car and trying to find my ringing cell phone in my purse while making a turn in a busy intersection…because I WANT to know who’s calling me at that very moment.

I could live without not having to remember to turn down the volume on my phone while at the movies, concerts or the theater…and then forgetting to turn it back up later (and think I’m getting no calls).

I could give up the joy I get from picking the perfect “ring tune” for each important person in my life – which accurately “personifies” who they are to anyone within a 20 foot radius (since I always have to keep my volume on super high in order to hear it in my purse).

And, I could live without those short coded text messages that take me about 20 minutes to decipher.  Seriously, what the hell does LOL-LMFAO mean?

You could also take my Ipod and I wouldn’t die.  I like it.  But it’s not a big part of my life. I use it when I take long walks with the dog(s) or when I’m on the treadmill at the gym (which has happened maybe 2 times in the last year).  And, I do like to use it in my handy dandy portable speaker thing in my RV so I can listen to my “tunes” as I’m whipping up a four course meal on the road.

But the truth be told, I don’t upload new songs, so I listen to the same music over and over again which now makes me a typical old woman who only listens to music I know the words to.  (Proof…I had Ally load my iPod with songs she thought I’d like listening to…about 2 years ago, and I’m still perfectly satisfied listening to the hours of Carole King, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor songs she knew I’d know.)

But the computer…that’s a tough one.  I use it a lot.

I like email.  I like the convenience of keeping in touch with people from all aspects of my life without having to make a full blown commitment to keeping in touch.

I LIKE TYPING and I LOVE being able to type and edit by pushing a “delete” button to completely obliterate anything I don’t like (beats the old days of having to use “white out” while using my huge IBM Selectric typewriter!).

I love Excel spreadsheets (not for anything in particular…just because I can organize stuff easily).   And I love that it does math for me.

But mostly…I LOVE GOOGLE!

I use it to find out everything about anything.   It’s like my own personal information warehouse.  I ask it for information on everything from travel to recipes.  How to find the @#$@ batteries in my RV?  Where is my favorite Salsa Band playing?  How do I find the latest deals on cookware?  How do I start to knit?


So without my computer… I’d have to relearn how to use a public library.  And get a really big Encyclopedia and Dictionary.  And the latest version of the book “How Things Work.”

I’d have to find another way to have my morning coffee since I now turn on the computer, make my coffee, and then sit in front of the screen checking emails with a steaming cup of java warming my hands.

I’d have to learn how to write in cursive all over again, and I sucked at it the first time.

I’d have to learn new ways to keep in touch with all of the people in my life that doesn’t comprise of pushing the “forward” key to share a funny joke or story.

I’d have to learn how to do math again.

And, I’d be bored, and less creative, and messier.

But I guess I could do it.

I’m part of a generation of people who are completely addicted to instant notification and immediate gratification.  I entered high school right when technology was becoming popular with the masses.  Pagers were still in, but cell phones were making a break for it.

Being able to call your friends anytime of the day is a good thing.  Being able to be found anywhere is a good thing.  Being able to find an answer to any question at the click of a button is a GREAT thing.

And I’m no different than my peers: I’m totally addicted to that feeling.

I need to get a hold of people NOW, and if I can’t, I worry.

I spend a lot of time on my phone and my computer.  I check my email several times a day (though nobody really emails me).  I text my boyfriend and family, and I check Twitter (compulsively).  I have an iPhone, so all of this can be done anywhere, at anytime.

If I’m sitting somewhere (a doctor’s office, the bank, a restaurant) and there’s nothing going on, I’m on my phone.  I check the weather, talk to my mom (the woman loves to talk), play scrabble with my dad, and Facebook stalk my ex.

(You know you do it, too.)

All of my news comes from apps on my phone (USA Today, NY Times and, most often, Twitter), and since I’ve gotten my phone I have a far better grasp on current events around the world.

I have people all over the country who I consider my friends, even if most of our words have been exchanged in 140 characters or less.

I’ve got to be honest: thinking about NOT having my phone makes me uneasy.  And admitting that makes me even more uneasy.  Sure, I could “survive”, and maybe getting rid of it all would make me a better person or something, but I’ve been living with it all for so long that it’s hard to imagine.

Some days, I want to shut all of it down.  I want to hide my computer and trade in my precious phone.

I want to unplug.

But then (and this is how technology gets you) I think, well, it is nice having a phone that has my music on it… and a camera is nice… and if I’m taking these cool pictures it’s silly not to share them with friends and family on Facebook… and if I’m sharing it on there I should share it with 600-plus strangers on Twitter… and since I’m on Twitter I’ll just see what’s going on around town… AND SO ON.

It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

But like I said… it’s addicting.

So I try to keep my compulsion to be connected in check.  I try to put the damn phone down and pick up a book (which, interestingly, is often on a Kindle…), go outside, interact with people outside of my computer.

I try to stop my compulsion to tell anybody and everybody anything and everything that happens to me or pops into my head.  My friends on Twitter and Facebook don’t need to know what I had for breakfast.  They don’t need to know that it’s a nice day out, or who I’m having tea with.  They don’t need to know how adorable my dogs are.

(LIE.  Everybody needs to know that:)


To say that I could give it all up means saying that I could give up a huge part of my identity.  My blog.  My friends on Twitter.  My incredible need to judge people on Facebook.

Could I live without all of these things (I am aware that these are all just things)?  Sure.

But would I want to?  Not so much.

(UPDATE: It’s 12:25 AM Monday morning and my phone and computer decided to become enemies and throw some sort of tantrum so I have spent the past hour screaming and crying and OHMYGOD I’m going to kill someone.  So it’s a little easier to imagine my life without it all now.  Maybe imagine isn’t the right word…  Fantasize?)

  1. Imagine life without your cell phone, computer, iPod…