Friday, October 5, 2012

When Technology Takes Over

I came a little late to the cellphone game. Well, sort of. When I was in college, my parents bought me one of those big car phones in the black zippered bag. I thought it was awesomely amazing technology. It was only for use in emergencies because each call cost fourteen dollars or something like that. I think I used it three times: once to call the police when another driver was scaring me, once when I had an accident, and once when my car broke down.

After college, I married Chad and moved to Nashville. Living on a private school teacher's and a starving artist's salary, cell phones weren't an option, even if they had been on our radar.

So, I didn't get a cell phone until the year after Chad started law school. We were still starving (so to speak), but we were leaving to live in Washington D.C. for a couple of months and my mother couldn't bear the thought of us going with no phones. So, she bought us some. Our phones did one thing--phone calls.

A few years later I got a Blackberry. Whoa, Mama. The internet was literally in my pocket. All the information I could ask for, at my fingertips. Communication with long lost friends suddenly skyrocketed thanks to Facebook, email sent directly to my phone, and texting. It was awesome.

Finally I got a touchscreen smart phone that does everything except make my toast in the morning. It's an amazing piece of technology. I don't need a GPS anymore. I don't need a TV. I don't need a computer. Why carry around a camera, video or otherwise? We even got rid of our home phone. I love my smart phone.

But, I'm about to get rid of it.

I'm giving up my phone because I keep catching myself having to ask my kids to repeat what they just said to me. Because I realize after several moments that one of them is trying to tell me a story. Because even while Sawyer is asking me to watch his latest dance move, I am engrossed in something a stranger wrote online. Because Adelade automatically brings me my phone if she finds it in another room, knowing how often I look at it. Because I have glanced down at Emerald while reading Facebook to see her smiling up at me, just waiting for me to pay attention to her.

I've thought that I would do better. I've tried. Apparently, the pull of the outside world is just too much for me. I don't really need to know this instant where the oldest tree in North America is. I can wait to learn who has posted Facebook drama today. When my children are standing right in front of me, changing every day, wanting me, needing me, and I'm giving them a half-hearted effort because of a silly piece of technology that I can do without.

I'm really looking forward to the liberation.

Sawyer grew an inch and a half this summer. Adelade is into carrying purses now. Emerald has figured out how to pull my glasses off my face. I want to be 100% present for all of it. I'm going to slow down, push the world out of my relationship with my kids, and go back to good old talk and text. I'm pretty sure my family will be better for it, and if it's nightfall before I learn whose relationship status changed, I think I can live with that.


  1. I got rid of facebook for the same reason, 16 months plus now. I'd love to get rid of my smartphone too but I'm just not brave enough, not yet...

    God bless your weekend with your family,

    Liz, a new reader from Cornwall, UK : )

    1. Liz, I bet you don't even miss Facebook! That's awesome! Thanks for reading!!

  2. Dear Melissa,

    I found your blog via Tim Challies as well. I'll comment on your previous blog post later, but this caught my attention. Perhaps you have heard of Reformation 21 (which is not a blog, per se as one can't write comments. I guess that is what makes a blog...I really don't know...)? Dr. Carl Trueman recently wrote a piece called "Just Disconnect" in which he talks about getting rid of his smart phone as well for a phone that just, well, is for talking...imagine that!

    We haven't gotten a cell phone for different reasons. (Well, actually, we do have a cell phone but it is in our garage box labelled "UK Trip" as we found getting a cheap one in the UK was great when renting houses that had no phone and touching bases with the landlord of the home when there were problems. The UK phone won't work here in the U.S. anyway)

    1. Temptation to be lax about being punctual
    2. Want to be totally "away" when shopping or driving with no interruption
    3. Want time to think with no possibility of phone interruption when I am out of the house
    4. Have lived a long time without one and it doesn't seem to impinge on our life; rather it might make it even more hectic than I really want it to be.
    5. I like the clear connection that landlines have
    6. There is "herd immunity" with cell phones. There have been a few times I couldn't find a pay phone and so I asked someone if I could pay them to make a call. They are always willing to let me even without paying
    7. I have to think creatively to fix problems (like last week's dead battery when I was 2 hours away from home. The Lord provided a man in the same parking lot with jumper cables. I did, however, go get some for that particular car).
    8. I don't want any device to check for messages. We have voicemail on our landline and I have email. That is plenty.
    9. The kids can't complain they don't have cell phones like their friends. (Actually they don't want one either).
    10. It is so hard to keep the technology bill down. We use phone cards programmed into the landline for long distance; have the "teaser" rate for Netflix; already pay for high speed internet and local phone usage; and we still pay $85 a month for technology!

    My husband has been able to avoid getting a company phone by saying "no". We'll see how long that lasts.

    We have no regrets, and I don't think you will downsizing from a smart phone, Melissa. I have never yet met a person who told me their life was better with a smart phone. Perhaps some things were able to be done more efficiently, but the "efficiency" sped their lives up. These are the people that are so busy that I never am able to get them on the first phone call or get them to respond to email. I don't blame them. I couldn't keep up with cell phones, land land, Facebook or email either.


  3. Kim, I love your list of reasons! Makes perfect sense to me! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I'm really looking forward to slowing down that speedy pace that you mentioned!