Op-Ed: Why I dumped my smartphone

By David S. Levin, writer from New York 

All of these new, high-tech gadgets out there are making me a little uneasy lately. People walk around forever plugged into their iPhones looking like vacant cyborgs from one of those futuristic science fiction movies. Sometimes, I think we’re actually starting to merge with them into some kind of a highly evolved, all-knowing cyber life form.

Apparently, I haven’t been spared from this destiny either. It occurred to me recently that the human me is slowly being subsumed by the digital one. My iPhone has essentially become my proxy. My alter-ego. My very own super-charged, high-tech magic wand with a 1.4 gigahertz quad-core processor. The truth is, without it, I really can’t do much of anything anymore. I’ll bet you can’t either.

I know the argument though. Technology means progress. New advances and efficiencies. Cheaper, better, faster. Yada, yada, yada…

I get it. But honestly, I don’t want it anymore.

Because I’ve decided that I’m done with my iPhone. Finito. I’m shutting it off for good. That’s right, hasta-la-vista baby. I will be a cyborg no more!

OK, obviously, I’m the outlier here. The rebel. A dissenter. I mean, who actually chooses to go off the grid these days? Because, smartphones are no longer a nice-to-have. They’re mission critical. They’re like having a Formula 1 cyber-Ferrari right in the palm of your hand. And in today’s hyper-wired world, they’re nearly impossible to live without.

But I’m going to try. Because I want my damn life back. The old one. The original me. You know, pre-iPhone. I want to be inefficient again. Imprecise. Out of the loop and disconnected. Tardy. Off-schedule. Slow to respond and out of touch.

And enough with the never-ending connectivity too. Sorry, but I’m not open 24/7. I don’t want to hear all the beeping and dinging anymore. Or the buzzing and vibrating. It’s maddening. And the never-ending flood of text messages and weather updates. Those infuriating ringtones. The endless pop-up advertisements. The real news alerts. The fake news alerts. And those galling friend requests from people who know someone who knows someone else who I worked with twenty years go. Stop it already!!! I don’t want any more faux friends on Facebook and LinkedIn. I already have 1,627 of them, most of whom I don’t even know.  

So, I finally did it. I’m done. I’m iPhone free. That’s right, out to pasture. Down the drain. Out the window. I’ve disconnected from the broader digital collective. And I’m ditching the rest of my technology too. Like the two Smartwatches, and three iPads I couldn’t live without. My Surface Pro 7. The Amazon Echo and Facebook Portal in my living room. My Fitbit and Air Pods. All of it. A full digital detox. So, go ahead, look down on me. Call me a pariah. You wouldn’t be wrong. 

Of course, I’ll miss all the cool things I can do with it. Like being able to shop for a new 55-inch smart television on my Amazon app while I’m in-between sets at the gym. Or how I can reminisce and flip through any of my 3247 photos as I take the subway downtown to work. And how I can do all my banking without ever setting foot into even one of their branches.

What finally sent me over the edge though was that my reliance on my phone had far surpassed any level of normalcy. My behaviour started to change, and it became impossible for me to put it down for even a few minutes. My iPhone had basically become “mini-me.”

Obviously, something had to give. So now, after more than ten uber-efficient years with my iPhone faithfully toiling by my side, I’ve gone back to my roots. I’ve broken free.

I’m analog again.

Now, it’s buried deep in my sock drawer under 15 pairs of multi-colored argyle socks, some old business files, and a few worn out wallets that I no longer carry.

And at last, I’m me again. The original version. The human me.

It’s great to be back.

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