It happens every single time. I confiscate my teens’ cellphones (completely warranted and justifiable for their wrongdoings, believe me!) when inevitably I hear their incredibly plaintive (although there’s nothing plain about these dramatic waterworks!) wailings, “This is a fate worse than death. Not fair! Adults NEVER get their cell phones taken away from them — even though they abuse the privilege constantly.”
Never say “NEVER,” kids!
The next time I ground my kids from their electronics, I include myself in the same disciplinary action. Mainly to prove how much it builds character, but also out of curiosity and determination that I can survive it too!
After our three cellphones commune together in a locked trunk, (plus our laptops, iPads, notebooks, Kindles etc. because if you’re gonna build character you might as well go for constructing a superhero!) I hand the only key to our friendly mailman, (don’t ask!) and decide to keep a diary.
LIFE WITHOUT A CELLPHONE
Day 1 – Dear Diary, the first thing I’ve noticed is that I really miss carrying a chunky, firm, substantial object that weighs me down in a reassuring self-important kind of way. How to fix? Easy Peasy Verizon Easy! I’ll just substitute a nice, shiny, heavy stone inside my jacket’s zippered pouch. Voilà!
Day 2 – Because it’s just after the holidays, today all my girlfriends show off their sleek, new gleaming technology stocking-stuffers at coffee . . . “I got an iPhone 7!” “I got a Blackberry Passport!” “I got a Samsung Galaxy.” All eyes focus expectantly on me as I slowly extract a stone-age “device” from my coat pocket and bemoan, “I got a rock.” I’ll credit Charlie Brown later, when I’m not feeling so dejected.
Day 3 – Today I announced I was going without a cellphone indefinitely to some other mothers at the gym. “Oh but your poor, pathetic family. None of them will ever be able to get a hold of you now!” pointed out one frazzled mom on a treadmill, obviously trying to empathize with my dire plight. I gave her my “seriously?” look, then burst into hysterical laughter while maniacally rubbing my hands together and gleefully repeating, “Yes, yes, YES!”
Day 4 – Tonight I silently remind myself what a newfound sense of freedom I now have! Like a little tyrant, a cellphone just barges into the middle of everything — eating, sleeping, important conversations, blogging, sex, cleaning, jogging, cooking… “You don’t clean, jog, or cook!” shout my resentful children from the hallway. How could they have heard my thoughts, I wonder? Then I realize — even though I don’t have a silver rectangular gadget to dictate into, (out of force of habit) I must still be unconsciously talking aloud to myself. “That’s right! You are!” they retort again. “You’re not our mother. You’re like a wacky, homeless person now.”
Day 5 – Today I have been informed that even a wacky, homeless person’s children would have cellphones.
Day 6 – I was right. This experience IS building character for me! In fact TWO very well-rounded characters! Because I suddenly have a new story idea where the antagonist grounds the protagonist from using her cellphone, causing her to lose her pics, her appointments, her to-do list, her friends, her lover, her memories, her mind, and her life! It’s a Sci-Fi Porno. The only problem is I have nothing to write it on. Normally I type my good ideas inside the little yellow notepad icon on my homepage screen.
Day 7 – Ha! All you other people out there are getting brain tumors, crashing your cars while texting, being eavesdropped on by Big Brother, and getting blackmailed for sexting — while I sit here innocently relaxing and eating some healthy fruit. How many calories are in Sour Grapes anyhow?
Day 8 – I prop myself up on my elbows and stare begrudgingly at our family’s two pet parakeets, blithely Tweeting back and forth to each other.
Day 9 – Does Facebook ever send out a search party when people go missing in action? Maybe it’s gone past that point now. A Facebook Funeral! Complete with a newsfeed obituary, eulogy comments, and privacy options so my burial won’t be broadcast live or made public. Just please “Poke” me first, Facebook — to make absolutely sure I’m completely lifeless before sending me 6 feet under with a musically accompanied slideshow of the highlights of my Posting Years.
Day 10 – What am I thinking?? “There’s nothing I used to do on my cellphone that I cannot still do in real life!” I console myself by endlessly repeating this mantra. Where’s that old cork bulletin board in the garage? Here it is! I viciously stab it with pushpins, hanging up scores of photos carelessly ripped from home decorating magazines. Take that! And that! Who needs Pinterest??
Day 11 – Today I couldn’t recruit a single soul to play the boardgame, “Scrabble” with me at our kitchen table. I wonder if I’ve been automatically resigned from my “Words With Friends” opponents yet?
Day 18 – Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written an entry in here, but I’ve been busy searching for things to put together for a Cellphone Substitution Survival Kit which will replace almost everything my iPhone 6 used to do! Turns out I’m gonna be just fine, thanks to the fact that I still own: a landline rotary phone, an answering machine, a typewriter, a radio, 3 wristwatches, a pedometer, a polaroid camera, a bank checkbook (with deposit slips!) a Rand McNally folded roadmap, local take-out restaurant menus, a kitchen timer, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a calculator, a flashlight, a calendar, a compass, a do-not-disturb sign, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a cookbook, The Yellow Pages phonebook, and a tooth that’s blue — not to mention I have an obedient friend named Sari, which is close enough to Siri. The only thing I couldn’t recreate was having an object to put on “airplane mode.” Oh! And I still long for the sound and sensation of a gizmo that buzzes in my purse. However now that I think about it, I sense an even more enjoyable contraption to fill my “vibrating void” will be quickly (forth)coming. (Ahem, you didn’t just read that here on my G-rated blog!)
Day 19 – Today (and only for my poor, uncreative children’s sake, of course!) it’s finally time to put an end to this lifelong lesson and reclaim our cellphones. I triumphantly make the announcement and am immediately rewarded with lots of appreciative cheers. (The loudest of which are mine.) We all gather around the locked trunk to ceremoniously open it and retrieve our precious electronic “friends.”
Oh dear, I think to myself (but somehow my kids still hear me?) — our friendly mailman possesses the one and only key to our cellphone jail and he’s gone on vacation. We can’t even text or call him. That’s right, there’s only one way to reach a US Postal Service worker . . .
And to think I don’t even own a stamp, an envelope, or a pen to put in my Cellphone Survival Kit.
Dear Readers: What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without using your cellphone? Disastrous or peaceful?
Great post! I have a job working with high technology and am surrounded by it constantly and consider myself to be quite tech savvy. Even so, at home I find myself becoming a Luddite and resenting more and more the intrusions of technology into my life. However, the technology genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back as you so eloquently (and humorously) described above.
Well thank you so much! Your post kinda made my day, no my week…. alright my month! But that’s not only because of your kind compliment–it’s also because the only tech savvy people I know are my adult sons and they’ve long ago resigned from giving me advice! So I’ve had nobody to ask why my cellphone has a mind of its own? It randomly calls people (even wrote a post about this! “The Phantom of the Cellphone!”) and sends my emails out when I’m still in the middle of a word. Technology baffles me! But I’m kidding, I won’t pump you for knowledge, I’m just happy you dropped by. Have a wonderful weekend and I’m intrigued by your blog name and gonna pay a visit!
Sounds like a tv series. Each day an episode. I’d watch it.
Well I could write something vaguely insulting here, after all, you’ll never see it, being you ding have anything to see it on… but why would I do that?? You’re the best! Hope you have me in your Rolodex!
Oh! I forgot about Rolodexes. But if I had remembered to put it in here, you would have been on the first index card, Young Marissa.
Of course…the one that got ripped out the first because it was worn from all that turning. Ha, ha!
Sure glad the children made it through this clever lesson. If you are not able to reach the mailman easily there is always a prybar. I liked the Charlie Brown analogy. So many uses in such a compact device. pictures and vibration all in one place. I’ve gone several days without it and all is well. Keep up the clever writing.
How many calories in sour grapes? Exactly ZERO.
Maggie! How wonderful to to see a comment from you in the New Year! It’s so funny because someone just “liked” my comment from your blog way back in 2014 and I got the notification so I went and reread your post and had myself a nice trip down memory lane. And now here you are! Hope 2017 is treating you well so far!
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Hi Stephanie! The universe works in wacky ways. Glad to be back, and super glad to see that you are as fun and creative as ever. Best to you this year!
Ha! I love #9! Will FB notice? Nope. I actually went 14 days without all communication while I was away on a retreat just before election day. Gotta say, it was fabulous, especially missing all the hoopla leading up to voting day. Looks like I’ll be needing another retreat in 9 days. You are welcome to join me Bunkie 🙂
Happy New Year blogmatey! It’s been quite the year, eh? I was in a serious car accident on Dec. 29th and am still finding my bearings (and my bruisings!) but feel lucky to be alive and to hear from you with your usual wit and charm. I DEFINITELY need a retreat! Count me in.
Holy Sh-nike…I was wondering why you’d gone silent. Well, glad to see you’re back to making the world smile. Get well. Be well. And stay well! ❤
Wow, Just seeing all your comments for some strange reason. Thank you! As long as we’re committed to being roommates, can we maybe carpool together from now on too? 😉
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