Cell-phone upgrade?

By the time you read this, it has likely already been done. I have caved in to the pressure to make my cellular telephone into the modern-day phone/computer bandied about by oodles of adults squinting at the palm of their hand.

I hate it.

This requires not just a decision, but a commitment. I don’t have a problem with decisions – – but commitments are another story altogether.

I have a 2004 Honda Odyssey wagon. It has a CD player, a GPS, and a DVD player. This probably added almost 3 grand to the purchase price. All of these functions are now available in a cell phone.

Many people stay on top of current technologies, especially the Mac-o-philes: They had the I-phone the first week on the market… same with the I-pad. What was once ‘cutting edge’ now seems to have taken on a much more sinister look. It has become The Pride of The Wasteful: “I bought this for 15 hundred dollars a year ago and it is worth almost 200 bucks today.”

I thought my 04 car was cutting edge. When purchased, I believed this would keep me ahead of the curve. But here is the really daunting perspective: Has technology finally advanced so quickly it has become instantly irrelevant?

My current cell phone makes calls. I can send and receive text messages. If the file is not too big, I can get a picture message. That is it. A few years ago, the text thing wasn’t around. That feature would be considered ‘the balls’. It is a mode of communication I truly despise. Compare that with an available technology that falls under the radar: You can record a message, and send it to another phone. Though this has been available for over a decade, nobody uses it. Perhaps it seems too impersonal. Is that even possible?

Spending time looking down at my phone – and punching digits – is a waste of time, energy, and sensory input. This assessment must be mine alone, since texting is extremely popular. In fact, spending time with friends is often spending time with a friend and their phone. They can’t get away from it, and you can’t get away from ‘it’ without getting away from them.¬†

So do you ask your friends to turn their phone off? Seems – oddly – rude! Imagine how far we have come as a society. Years ago it would be considered rude to talk on a cell phone at a cash register. Now it is commonplace, and interrupting the chat – in order to be present – is rude.

My cell doesn’t work properly. The call waiting feature hasn’t worked for years. I’m not aware of new messages for days. Sometimes service drops for no good reason. Recently the owner of the company I work for called me, and I didn’t get his message for 2 weeks.

But it isn’t simply a phone, it is a whole ‘plan’ decision. I am not under contract, so I could change carriers. Since everyone who has a phone hates their carrier (as everyone who has cable hates their cable company,) most would be delighted to give the middle finger to their provider. I try not to fall prey to this mindset, tempting as it is.

The upgrade would give me roving internet capabilities, and always-available GPS. I would be able to find restaurants and coffee shops with just a few finger movements. I could watch TV. I could read ‘stuff’, during down times, while waiting for scheduled stuff to come to fruition! I could check my email…

This the problem.

I don’t want to be ‘the guy’ who is observed looking at the palm of his hand. This is how a cell phone allows your life to pass by. ‘Life’ is right there in front of you. Is the item in your palm more interesting, pressing, or are you just obsessing?

Technology has taken people away from personal interactions. This has been replaced by a private, cerebral interchange. This isn’t just bad for the mind, it is bad for the spirit. We need to follow our heart, guided by our mind to the lives beyond the screen. This allows us to be positive members of society. Sometimes it even results in boredom.

Nobody has mental down-time anymore.

Imagine yourself on the beach at sunset. There is a warm breeze blowing across your face. The sound of seagulls is mixing with the waves crashing on the sand. Your feet are in the sand, and the water rushes over them and is drawn back out to sea. The sunset is orange bleeding into the blue sky, and a quarter moon can be seen in the distance, weaving in and out of the small wisps of clouds.

If your iphone had batteries, you could ignore it all.

Depressed, you leave this scene and retreat – – to charge the source of all happiness the world has to offer.

There is a world out there, and a world of people missing it.

What in the world has come over us?

People nowadays