Ok. I dropped my IPhone 4S in the Broad river near Athens, Ga along with $16 and my NY Drivers License about 2 months ago while kayaking. It was 2 weeks before the new iPhones were to come out. I didn't want to buy another one as my plan was to sell the refurbished, like new, phone that Apple had just replaced for the 3rd time for free. I bought a $15 burner phone from Walmart and had AT&T replace the SIM card. After 6 years of using iPhones I was finally disconnected from the internet at all times. It was liberating. I became more focused as I had lost all of the conveniences a smart phone brings. I immediately noticed that nearly everyone was literally walking around with their face in their phones, mindlessly thumbing through their screens, searching for whatever future they might be hoping to be in, instead of present to what is going on around them. People in bars don't actually talk to each other anymore, pre-teens are bullying their peers on their phones as Louis CK so eloquently pointed out. They are not learning about empathy because they don't see the pain on the victims face when they taunt them. I began to see that we are becoming a culture of dependent smart phone zombies. Stroking our little devices that cause our brain to fire off tiny little dopamine responses for each fresh email that arrives, game level advanced to and response to a social network status update, I was free! I felt a sense of actual enlightenment. The compulsion to look at this small box every time I became idle or stuck in a line had vanished. I was excited that I had to really plan my next trip to some place new beforehand, because I wouldn't have an app for that when I got near to where I thought I was going. I also could actually hear what someone was saying on a call and they could hear me. Not to mention the nostalgia of relearning to text using a numbered keypad. It had a color screen but you couldn't really see a photo if someone texted you one. It was back to the future 2001. It was Nirvana. Now, after 2 months of this experiment, yesterday I decided to go to the AT&T store to see what my options for a new smart phone or iPad/dumb phone combination might look like. Mind you I never owned an iPod. I swore I wouldn't until they put a phone in it and I did go buy the first one as soon as it came out and paid top dollar for it. I have had the grandfathered in, holy grail of unlimited data plans since the beginning. Upon my extensive inquiry at the AT&T store I find out that the plan has been cancelled but they will reinstate it only if I choose a new smart phone within the next few minutes. I became anxious. What should I do? I wasn't betting on this turn of events and now I was being forced to choose between a phone that I didn't gasp for air every-time it dropped to the floor and the seductive allure of everything at my fingertips all of the time.
I felt conquered by technology. After comparing the pros and cons of the new iPhones, Note 3 and the Motorola Google Phone (Which is made in the USA and is really cool actually) the helpful person convinced me to get the IPhone. The reasoning being that I can trade it in for the other phones if I hate it in 14 days or resell it after the fact because it would be more valuable in that market. There is also one Mac only app I prefer to not live without and that helped edge me back onto the Apple path along with the amazing customer service they have always shown me. Ironically the AT&T system was acting up and it took an hour for them to finally give up and place the order on paper. There it was in my hands. The mother of all smartphones. A brand new iPhone freshly unwrapped from all of its beautiful packaging. It was like the first time. Now, as I type the longest status update I have ever written, and on a device I haven't interfaced with in two months, I am left with two thoughts. I am committed to keeping the sense of freedom and awareness I had with a simple burner phone. Second, You have spent your time reading about my first world trivial electronic dilemma and this world we inhabit is being destroyed by our technologies while we are busy thumbing our phones at it.
PS. Plastic never degrades back into the earth. The iPhone I dropped in the river was in a waterproof case sealed inside a plastic bag. One day when you eventually find it please send it back to me. It will still work. Use the $16 for shipping.
Thanks for reading!