Two Years Without a Cellphone

We can be incredibly disconnected in this day and age with computers and cell phones.

– Marcia Gay Harden

For the majority of my college experience, I’ve lived in places with limited cell service. My Napa Valley campus, for example, was notorious for being catered by a single carrier. Students who weren’t connected to the correct phone company had to find other means of communication. Then while living in France, the phone situation was such that those who purchased phones had service plans biased in the neighboring country of Switzerland. What a mess.

My specific lack a of cell phone started the summer before I left for the French countryside. At the time, I was planing a quick trip to Mexico before hopping the Atlantic. Although the trip to Mexico was never made, I canceled my phone service assuming that the phone would be useless overseas. Didn’t carry around a phone for two years after.

How did I make up for the lack of phone? 

I used a Wifi biased text/call app on my IPad to communicate with people. The service was also available through any device connected to the internet.

  • Less Distractions – There was no phone waiting for a side glace while somebody else was talking. Even when I got bored in church, I’d have to resort to drawing in my sketch book. Of course, while asleep, showering, visiting with friends or on a date, it was guaranteed that I wouldn’t be distracted by incoming messages. I otherwise checked for them regularly and got back to people within a fairly reasonable time frame.
  • Free Service Outside the Country – My WiFi based texting/call service allowed me to contact my American friends while I was outside of the country at no extra charge.
  • Lower Risk of Illness? – Research suggests that cellphones contribute to various health hazards including cancer and hearing loss. Not using a cellphone on a regular basis would automatically decrease my chances of developing cellphone related health issues.
  • Most People Didn’t know – Since people were able to call and text me, most didn’t actually realize that I didn’t have a phone.
  • Maps! – I learned how to read old fashioned maps and didn’t have to depend on a GPS to get me from point A to point B.
  • Harassment – People sometimes saw the lack of cellphone as a negative reflection on my person. Several times, those in superior positions said derogatory statements in regards, even if they weren’t necessarily true.
  • Addictions – I was still addicted certain apps like Instagram… not having constant access caused anxiety. Sometimes, updating meant I needed to borrow somebody else’s device.
  • Wasting Time – Once, a friend and I spent five hours standing in front of the Louvre Museum waiting for another friend. Granted this was because he neglected to answer his phone. Anther time, I took an hour long nap in a tree because I couldn’t find the person I was supposed to be meeting up with.
  • Cerfew – Ugh, who has to be home at 11pm in this day and age!? Contacting my parents in case of tardiness was complicated.

So how did I finally end up with a phone? 

There was a series of work related events that lead to my acquisition of a phone. I am currently borrowing one until I decide which model to purchase later this month. My number ported quite successfully from the texting app, so I am content.

How do I like having the phone so far? 

Went out to dinner with my colleagues and found out how to turn off the restaurant’s TV screens using phones. The place got %30 darker. Oooops! I guess they increase mischievousness.

I have mixed feelings about this new venture. We shall have to see how it goes. Wish me luck!


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