A Day In My Life Without A Cell Phone.

The first thing I do when I wake up is go and fetch water from my neighbour’s hose --- because people who don’t have cell phones probably don’t have running water either.

I rustle my four and six year old out of bed, send them off to the park across the street so that they can collect some wood. Remember if the cops ask why you are cutting down trees- it’s for a school project. And take turns with the saw. They return, loaded with wood, and I fire up the stove to make some coffee while we eat our grits.

Eventually, we all get out the door and into the car. Yes! I know! We have a car—thanks to my grandma going blind and gifting us her ’82 Pontiac. Good for us, bad for the two cows she smoked.

I finally drop the kids off at school, hours late, because everything takes so damn long and we don’t have clocks.The kids will spend their day mostly getting the living shit kicked out of them because they are unfamiliar with things like Minecraft and they think PS3 is a cool way to close a letter.

PS I love you.

PS2 Can’t wait to see you.

PS3 Bring candy.

I head to work to teach a couple of English classes. I can’t be bothered to learn how to use the copier or the Smart Board, so I just write reams of notes up on the blackboard and spend the remainder of class freaking out on kids who try to take pictures of the notes with their phones instead of copying them down. Because, then what would we possibly do for the rest of the class?

The rest of the day entails activities like beating the shit out of the laundry with logs, or finding and killing our supper. For most people, Angry Birds is an iPhone game. For us, it’s dinner moments before we shoot it.

Okay, okay. Here are my actual reasons for not having a phone (as of yet).

  1. I am not a fucking luddite. I don’t hate technology. In fact, I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. I write a blog (you obviously know this because you are reading it right now); and I read blogs. Lots of them. I have a wi-fi enabled iPad and I write on a MacBook. Repeat: I do not have technology phobia.

I just don’t want to be plugged in all the time and I don’t want to check my phone every six minutes, 150 times a day (the average amount people check their phones according to this study.) I don’t want to be constantly stressed out about what I might be missing out on in life. I don’t want pocket access to seeing how many peoplelike my status updates or how many shares this blog post gets. If I don’t have it, I don’t think about it, I’m not tied to it. It’s that simple. It’s actually a pretty cool and liberating way to live.

2.If my wine consumption is any indication, I have a pretty addictive personality. If the phone-checkingaverage is every 6 minutes, I’d be checking every three-that’s about how long I can go without a glass of wine. I’ll limit my addictions to things like wine and crack. They’re more fun.

3.I really like my alone time. This is when I'm forced to confront how I am feeling. This is when I think, generate ideas, solve problems in writing and in life. If I had a phone, I’d just text other people to solve them for me, or use my phone to evade feelings and problems altogether. (Wait, maybe I do need a phone?)

For the love of pete, stop calling me weird for not having a phone. This happens at least five times a week. Just because this is your reality, the world’s reality – it doesn’t have to be mine. I don’t ask you to pull up the last 6 texts you’ve sent or received so we can analyze how pointless they were. Maybe then we can have a fair and frank discussion about what is weird.

This is a clearly, thought-out choice. If and when I do get a phone, that too will be a carefully deliberated decision. But I’m not getting a phone simply because everyone on the fucking planet has one. That reason is not good enough for me. In fact, for me, this is generally a reason not to do something.

I’m going to close with two quick anecdotes, both of which have happened in the last week. I think they beautifully illustrate my phone dilemma.

I was watching my daughter’s gymnastics up in the parents’ viewing gallery. There was a mom whose daughter was in the same gymnastics class; she was watching with her two other children. The mom was busy on her phone, her three year old constantly vying for her attention. Finally, the three year old climbed into the lap of a complete stranger sitting next to her mother. The stranger asked Texta-Mom if it was okay if her daughter sat in her lap. Texta-Mom, clearly embarrassed, put the phone away, but holy shit, was that awkward. The toddler sat watching gymnastics curled up in the lap of a complete stranger sitting beside her own mom because Texta-Mom chose the phone over her daughter.  

The following week I was sitting in my car in the Tim Horton’s parking lot. My daughter was in the back sleeping and I was working on some writing. We had some time to kill before gymnastics. A guy pulled into the spot beside us. He sat in his car, with his coffee, scrolling through his phone. I was pretty consumed with my notes, so I barely noticed him.

A few minutes later, he tapped on his window and pointed to sleeping Isla in the back. Then he held up his phone. It read: Sorry 4 Bass. I hadn’t even noticed the bass, or the music for that matter. I waved and we smiled at each other. This guy used his phone to communicate an apology. It as a really powerful moment for me. As powerful as the gymnastics moment - but in a good way.

For me, the most important human functions – thinking and feeling, have very little to do with technology. They have to do with people. 

When I do finally cave and get a phone, like Sorry-4-Bass-Dude, I will do my best to use it to enhance my humanity, not destroy it.

This Louis CK video is hilarious and smart. If you haven't seen it - watch it!

People Who Don't Have A Mobile Phone or Limit Their Use:

Chanel Designer Karl Lagerfeld, Vince Vaughan, Tom Cruise, Elton John, Christopher Walken, David Sedaris, Tyra Banks, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Simon Cowell, Rheostatics musician and writer Dave Bidini, Vancouver International Writers Festival Director Hal Wake

Cell Phone Addicts:

Gerri Halliwell, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, P.Diddy