This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

May 6, 2009

Trailing Technology

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — pprscribe @ 3:43 pm

Ha ha! Some poor senator has a flip phone!

This is what one of the commenters on Flickr had to say about this image from the official White House photostream. This photo depicts a sea of Blackberrys (Blackberries?) and other high tech communications devices, tagged with Post-its and kept on a table for safekeeping, during a White House briefing.

Were I sitting in that cabinet room my own simple, scratched and scuffed up flip phone would have joined this Senator’s on the table. Together we’d be the two lonely inhabitants of the technological hall of shame. As the other high-powered folks talked about the googling and facebooking and twittering and g-networking capacities of their own devices, we could swap tips on how best to keep our batteries from popping out of their casing. (Currently I use two small tabs of clear tape, but hopefully the Senator would have a better idea.)

I still have text messages in my phone that I have not yet read. I had amassed quite a few before I realized that with my basic phone plan I could even receive them. I do not believe in text messaging. Not “not believe” as in, I think the practice is the stuff of legend. I mean: “texting” is against aspects of my core philosophy. If I am standing in front of you, and you wanted to let me know something, would you whip out a pen and pad and begin furiously writing me a note? If not, then I cannot see the point in you taking out your phone, pressing my number, then typing me a (largely incomprehensible) message that I must now read on my tiny, flip phone screen.

I used to be really high tech. I was an early adopter of the iPod, and jumped on the blogging bandwagon when many folks didn’t even know the meaning of the word. But I think I have reached a limit of some sort with regard to how tuned into the digital world I want to be at any given moment.

I recall the day I went to pick out my current phone, after my old one took a licking in the washing machine and stopped its ticking. The barely-past-teen salesclerk showed me a vast array of sparkling, colorful phones on the display wall and began telling me of all the wondrous things the phones could do. I stopped her mid sentence, explaining that I wanted the most basic phone she had. She showed me a few models. No, I said—more basic than that.

“Well, the only thing more basic is the model we recommend to people who are…elderly and stuff.”

(She said the word “elderly” as if she were speaking of people who barely qualified as human beings, or who willingly spread disgusting diseases. And stuff.)

That is the phone I ended up walking out with.

It has large keys with very visible numbers. The screen is very simple and the type is very large. It is not too bulky, but also not too small. Several times I have left it places, and no one has bothered to steal it.

I am very happy with my flip phone.

I have heard people say of their own smart communication device that they “couldn’t live without it.” I very well could live without my phone. That is kind of the point.

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