Every morning, I wake up to a ten-year-old alarm clock. When I need to stay late after school, I have to make sure I tell my parents two days in advance. When UIL meets or track practice suddenly ends early, I still have to wait for an hour after everyone else left to go home. I didn’t know what a “selfie” was up until four months ago; Instagram two months ago. If I want to go to a friend’s house, a schedule has to be mapped out; with a pre-designated drop off and pick up time with no exceptions or ‘Can you come a little later?’. No, I don’t know about that hilarious mass text that someone sent out, or what they ate for dinner last night. I can’t carry out conversations with my friends outside of school; or for that matter, really have any contact with them out of the classroom. I didn’t get that Edmodo alert on my cell phone, that would be pretty impossible. This isn’t the apocalypse; this is my life without a cell phone.
When other people find out I don’t have a cell phone, they either ask me how I’m still alive or if I’m Amish. I’ve managed this far pretty well, and no, I’m not amish. If I were, and still going to this school, I would have given up on life already. In this digital age, working around not having the latest technology is hard, but not impossible.
Being a teenager without a cell phone isn’t as bad as it sounds; you can’t miss something you’ve never had. I mostly see it as a simple piece of plastic that is useful, but not necessary. Yet, everyone acts like they can’t live without it. It’s almost an extension of who they are. I’m actually grateful that I’m not so dependent on a simple object like the rest of my generation. Seeing other people with cell phones doesn’t make me depressed; it’s more like seeing a whole other universe that I know I would never be apart of, but I don’t mind. It’s almost superfluous.
When I hear all of the horror stories of phones, I take back all the momentary desires I had for one. Someone says something behind someone else’s back, cyberbullying, a period at the end of a sentence meaning someone is angry, girls constantly crying in the bathroom because he broke up with her over text, people giving your number to strange people, and hundreds of ruined reputations because of a terrible decision. Having a cell phone opens more negative doors than I care to know about.
But that’s not counting the lack of emotion that goes into just sending a couple of words to someone. If my friend is crying, I want to hug them. If they get good news, I want to be able to hold hands and jump up and down with them like a couple of giddy schoolgirls. If I’m mad at someone, I want to yell at them, not put the caps lock on. Sure you can do that over text, but it’s still not the same. There’s something more personal and memorable when you and someone else are talking face to face. I’ve heard of so many failed relationships because the couple didn’t know how to talk to each other in person. They got so used to the connection that was separated by two phones, that when they were together, it was awkward. It’s much easier to write what you feel than to say it; because then, you’re forced to acknowledge everything that’s said. And you can’t delete it, or think about it before you hit send, or say that’s not the tone you were trying to have. Cells phones lack the warm, physical existence of interaction; a social skill that is very necessary in the real world. You and your future employer can’t text the whole interview. And you definitely can’t sit there in the chair in silence thinking of a good answer for 15 minutes.
Lunch and free time in class can be agonizing, though. I can’t count how many awkward silences I’ve experienced, by myself, where everyone is bent over their phones, silent, while I’m looking around and fidgeting from boredom. Sometimes they giggle hysterically to themselves, which can weird me out. On one occasion, one of my friends said it was better that I didn’t have a phone. She described to me what a distraction it was to her when she was trying to do work. Knowing my obsessive tendencies, I probably wouldn’t be such a good student if I always had the allurement of talking cat videos and twitter at my fingertips.But instead, I use that time doing beneficial things, not wasting my mind on social networking sites.
To me, life without a phone has more benefits than a life with one.