I got my first cell phone this year. Yes, I have lived without a cell phone for four decades and survived. When I grew up in Guatemala, my family went nine years without any phone whatsoever, not even a land line. When a bullet came through my window nearly killing my sister, my mom had to wait until my dad got home from work to tell him.
When I was 18, I moved to the United States. Valuing money, I decided to not spend my money on frivolous things. I saw cell phones like a piece of American jewelry, a decadence that made people feel important. Instead, I saved up all my money, and when I had the chance to live in England, I used the thousands of dollars that I had saved to travel the world. Yes, you have power when you have money. Power to live the kind of life you want to live instead of being enslaved to an American credit card institution that jacks up your interest rates and gives you no way out. Then you’re stuck.
Perhaps I thrived more as a result of not having a cell phone. I was productive. I wasn’t constantly checking for text messages, and continuously surfing the net from my phone, checking Facebook or whatever, generally wasting time. During a lull in the day, I would pray for someone, or turn and have a conversation with a real person, sometimes resulting in the salvation of a soul.
A cell phone is not necessary for survival. We just think it is. People have survived for thousands of years without it. You don’t need one.
A philosophical problem I had with getting a cell phone was that everyone that I knew bowed down and worshiped their cell phone. No, not physically, but in their hearts, because they were ruled by it. For example, I would be out on a date with my husband, and nearly every single person in the restaurant was looking at a cell phone screen instead of spending time with the person they were with. Our virtual lives have taken over our real lives.
So how come I finally bought a cell phone, and not just any cell phone either, but a modern one with all the bells and whistles? Because my sisters were begging me to get one. They wanted to feel that they had access to me 24/7, and they just wanted to say “I love you” and not have a long phone conversation. And because my business coach said I needed it to check e-mails and post to Twitter and Facebook. And then we finally had the money. Plus, my husband wanted one badly. Well, he wanted both of us to have one, so that he could get a hold of me to tell me that he was in a traffic jam and would be an hour late, and to please take the kids to karate and guitar practice. So yes, the cell phone has immense practical value.
I knew that I had come full circle when I ended up texting people during a date with my husband, which is something I determined never to do. I had purposely left my cell phone at home, getting into the car. My husband slid into the driver’s seat, handing me my phone and saying, “You forgot this.” As soon as we were driving away, my phone chimed. I had gotten a text message, and only five people have my cell phone number: my husband, my best friend, and my three sisters. Knowing that the chime indicated a person that I loved who had a need, how could I not get it? Besides, it would only take a few seconds to answer…Tweet