i’ll stay dumb, thanks so much

My 'antique' cell phone

It may be dumb, but it still works just fine!

Every time folks look at my cell phone, they have a hard time suppressing the expression on their faces that says, ‘How do you get that antique to work, anyway?‘ When I patiently remind my students to email me the night before group to inform me of the next day’s absence – because I have neither internet at the writing studio, nor smart phone – they do not seem to register my meaning. Even last week, when I was at the Verizon store purchasing a smart phone for my daughter, she, the salesman and my husband tried their best to persuade me to buy one for myself. I simply could not figure out a reason to do so.

OK, maybe I am the dinosaur here. I’m just mastering texting my twenty-something-year-old kids. But I have yet to grasp the need to connect to the internet 24/7. In fact, I think it would be quite exhausting. For tonight’s book group talk we have read QUIET by Susan Cain. I am on nearly every page of that book; I have found where I live and why it has always been so painful for me in the wider world. Obviously I’m famously an introvert. I like taking time to consider a response.  I do NOT like being bombarded by messages all day. And I do not need to check the weather every 20 minutes. I live in New England. It changes all the time!

I truly appreciate the internet for its ability to send writings to be copied at Kinko’s so they’ll be ready when I need them. I have used it many times to clarify the precise meaning of a word that comes to me. I love seeing and sharing photos with family, and reading updates from writers I admire. But the reason my work involves face-to-face groups of women writing in community is because of the relationships we build. They feed us as women and as writers. These personal connections simply cannot be created online.

8 thoughts on “i’ll stay dumb, thanks so much

  1. I’m more old-fashioned than you. I’ve never owned a cell-phone. My only phone connection is the land-line I’ve had for 25 years. I do use my laptop (just got my first one last year) frequently. I rely on a wi-fi connection which limits my connection to the internet, and I like that limitation.

  2. Sarah, I’m completely with you on the need to avoid constant barrage of messages, etc. However, my phone has freed me from writing lists, allows me to write poetic thoughts when they hit, even if no pen or pencil are around, let’s me take an infinite amount of photos capturing real treasured moments and then share photos with my friends (when I’m sitting with them not with instagram or any of those programs.) Listen to music while I do chores or workout, do word puzzles to keep my mind sharp and when I’m traveling keep up on emails. Edit documents that people send to me and then send them back, calendar appointments on the spot and then a reminder comes up…a great thing as my mind wanders….:-) You have to stay with what makes you happy. However, you might want to consider those pluses. You can always turn off the notifications to give you control over when you receive messages. Enjoy your quiet and keep challenging the status quo ❤

    • You raise a lot of valid points, Sara. Smartphone spells current, compact, connected convenience. However, as I enter retirement an extreme introvert who has garnered a lot of social media and computer savvy, I find I have reached a limit. I’d rather spend my days and my dollars gardening. And I always carry at least three pens and a handful of index cards with me . . . I find it endlessly fascinating how we each choose to balance our options. Thanks for taking the time to share your enthusiasm!

  3. Here, here! Three cheers for phones that are, first and foremost, phones! Smart phones may have their advantages and may even be encouraged/required by some employers these days, but one has to pay for them not only in data plans but also in distraction from the here and now.

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