I have a bit of an odd confession, made odder still by my gender and age. I am 31, Female, and I’ve never owned a cellphone. Yes, it’s true, I live in the United States of America. You could hand me one this very minute and I wouldn’t be able to tell you how to even turn it on. Believe me, I can imagine the look of confusion, maybe even disbelief on your face right now—I’ve seen it a million times.
On a weekly basis people ask me for my cellphone number, or if they can text me something, or they ask if I can text them something… and this leads to the awkward conversation where I have to grin and say “I don’t own a cellphone.” This is then followed up by an even more awkward statement: “No, it’s not broken. No, I’m not waiting to get a new one… I’ve never owned a cellphone.” and then finally “No, I don’t plan to own one, either.”
I’ve had people look at me like I was crazy. I’ve had them look at me as if to say “You have to be lying.”… but I’m not. I’d like to say that it’s easy living without a cellphone—and sometimes it is. Considering how addicted I am to my personal computer, I can only imagine how dependent I would become on a cellphone if I owned one. I’d probably never turn it off. Being a bit of an artist, I’d probably spend my entire day spamming up Facebook with photos of everything—and I mean everything—we’re talking family photos on down to artistically framed blades of grass.
Most of the time, I’m proud to say that I don’t own a cellphone. We all know they’re germ magnets. The CDC admits that cellphones have been proven to emit forms of radiation that are known to be harmful. Cellphone use causes 1 out of every 4 car accidents. That’s a huge number! However, none of these is the reason I don’t own a cellphone. “So why don’t you?” you may ask. The answer is simple: I don’t need one—and that seems to blow some people’s minds.
I’m a stay-at-home mom. I work from home and I homeschool. I rarely go anywhere that isn’t with my family. I’ll admit it, I’m one of those people who’s perfectly fine staying home in the evenings and on weekends to read a book, write a blog post, or even catch up on chores. I don’t feel the need to be busy outside my home for the sake of not being here. I’m an introvert, and my list of friends is small and close, and I don’t feel the need to text them, or anyone… ever. There’s nothing in my life that is so immediate that I need a phone on my person 24/7. In the end, I simply can’t justify paying a lot of money to have a little electronic time-sucker stuck in my pocket when I don’t really need one.
That isn’t to say that having a cellphone wouldn’t be useful. There are some things in life that are made difficult by not owning a cellphone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across a sign-up form on a website that won’t let me join because they require a cellphone number as a way to create a secondary authentication for login. It would be useful to have a cellphone for those emergency moments you can’t plan for. I do sometimes get tired of justifying the fact that I don’t own a cellphone. Like I said, people sometimes look at me like I’m crazy or a liar.
Think about how absurd that is for a moment.
There are people all over the world who don’t own cellphones. They are –everywhere-. Yet, because I live in America, I am female, and I am of a generation that generally uses cellphones, I’m considered odd because I don’t own a piece of technology. Cellphones have become so prevalent in our society that telling someone you don’t have one gets a similar reaction to saying “I’m homeless.” People look at me, a young, female American, and think “how is that possible?” I don’t look like someone who shuns technology, and I don’t particularly look destitute… so what particular reason could there be for me to avoid this one piece of technology that so many people take for granted? It bothers me. The fact that the idea of not owning a cellphone has become so shocking to so many people makes me seriously question where our priorities lie as a society… and yet I know that I give the same look of disbelief to people who tell me “I don’t own a computer.”
Now, there’s no real purpose behind this article. I’m not here to convince anyone to put down their cellphone. I’m not here to make people question why we feel so dependent on our technology. I’m just musing aloud. Earlier today my husband told me he was talking with the company who recently built our new gaming PCs to see if we could –not- send in my malfunctioning PC for repairs and instead have someone come to our house to fix it, because I am ashamed to say, I didn’t want to live 2-4 weeks without my PC while they attempt to fix it.
It was a humbling moment when I sat back and thought about what I’d just said. Could I live without my PC for 4 weeks? Sure. PC’s didn’t even exist when I was a kid. The world wouldn’t end. It’d be inconvenient, sure. I have a blog to run, and I pay my bills online. Was it impossible to deal with? No. We even have a backup laptop I could use.
What it came down to is: My PC is my security blanket. I’m comfortable with its settings. It has the programs I like to use. It has my internet bookmarks. I simply didn’t want to be inconvenienced. I can only imagine that for some, their cellphone serves a similar function. Am I proud that I don’t own a cellphone? Yah. A Bit. Should I be? Probably not—not when my PC fills that same gap of dependence.