It's been two weeks now since I traded in the smartphone for the flip. I still hate the thing. When I had the idea to transition to a flip phone, I thought I'd instantly feel so free, so unfettered from the obsession of checking anything...everything on my iPhone. But instead I feel frustrated. As I wrote earlier, a text takes an interminable amount of time to write. Even just "Kk" becomes a practice in patience as I wait to advance past the letter "J" on the keypad...twice!
And turns out the flip phone doesn't receive group texts. Just the replies to them. It's the texting version of the game Mastermind. Well, if Jaime replied back, "Okay, friend, sounds like a plan!," I think she's probably writing Helen back about Sunday. (If I'm right about the person but wrong about the date, I get one red and one white peg, of course.) My inbox is full of these clues, so I've taken to ignore them all.
One benefit of the flip is I only charge it every three or four days. Since I'm not on it constantly and it doesn't have any apps (unless you count the trial version of Uno), the battery lasts and lasts. Even after three or four days, it doesn't necessarily need a charge, I just feel like it should be charging for its own good, like an electric serving of peas.
The biggest benefit is being more intentional with my online-ness. Instead of compulsively checking email or Facebook or the news or more salmon recipes or my bank balance or the video of five people with superpowers caught on tape, I'm sitting down to do those things at specific times of the day. I feel more in control of this digital relationship with that kind of planning. I find I don't get lost in the internet rabbit hole as much with that kind of discipline.
But make no mistake. I miss having a smartphone. During this device fast, I have come to accept, appreciate, and pine after its convenience when it comes to communication, not to mention the sound quality of the calls. I miss the preternaturally close sound of the other person on the phone, freakish though it may be at time. (Are they in my ear?)
So it's not a question of "if" but "when." When I get a smartphone again, I will have to do something simple in theory but difficult to pull off in practice: control myself. Just control myself.