I’ll Keep My Flip-Phone

I’ll Keep my Flip-Phone
By: Warren Wright

Working in a bar in the Midtown area, I’ve noticed as more and more people tend to stare in bewilderment and come at me with smarmy comments when I pull out my flip phone.
“Look at that archaic piece of shit!”, someone will yell.
“Oh, look! A relic from the year 2003!”.
This scenario happens as numerously as the joke is unfunny. More annoying is someone urging me to buy a Smartphone using the word “need”. They’ll say I just plain and simply “need one for this day and age”. I must upgrade as soon as possible (thereby tripling the price of my phone and phone bill). They sound like little door-to-door ministers from the Church of Apple. What many people might not be aware of is that flip-phones or “dumb phones” are still made and manufactured to this day. The cost of the phone is still about 30 dollars, with the phone bill maybe around $25; just as in 2003. 12 years later, there are still pockets of people owning and carrying these pieces of so-called obsolete technology, not necessarily convinced a Smartphone is a need, just as the phones themselves still exist. I’m a little anxious when faced with the mentality that an Iphone qualifies as a “need” to some people, and sad for the way the English language is abused as well. I’m not some tin foil hat conspiracy theorist droning on and on about “Big Brother” at Alex Jones level decibels. I could give a rat’s ass about phantom data-mining towers, nor about who is watching me watch skate videos. However, when people tell me a Smartphone is a “need” in 2015,  that’s when I get a little worried.                                              To be fair- the evolution of the cell phone in the past 10 years is nothing short of an insane leap. The evolution of the cell phone isn’t only a technological revolution but a revolution in culture as well. The invention of the internet was the hottest thing to come out since the end of the Cold War. It was a game changer. It made President Clinton seem competent by mere association. Steve Jobs put the internet in our pockets and sparked a revolution so grand he got his own store in the mall. I can hardly think of any aspect of American life and culture that’s changed in the past decade at the same rate of the phone, and that might be a little sad. It’s just hard for me to contemplate what in the hell happened since 2003 that made a Smartphone a “need”.
Sure a man in 2015 can use his phone to route his way to work via GPS. Sure a man can thwart an attempt at cyber crime with the push of a button and then go right back to playing money-sucking, generic empire-building games. Does that mean the effects of constant internet connectivity are inherently good, or even more convenient? A wifi-era citizen can balance his checkbook while driving (stupid and reckless, but possible still), but he’s using the same combustion engine car. His car is guzzling the same oil that is still being fought over in the same wars with the same oil-rich countries. He has to slow down when drives through a school zone, the school itself most likely built during the Cold War. He has to stop when his route gets blocked off by the same old Cold-War trains. If all it takes for me to “join the 21st Century” is buying one of those damn things, it makes me wonder how much better off I am by doing so- if any better at all. You don’t see phones without internet in commercials anymore, but more and more aspects of everyday life seem to be monopolized by smartphones (parking meters, ordering a pizza, banking), but it seems the new convenience is superficial. You don’t see phones as dumb as mine in commercials anymore, leaving many privileged yuppie idiots to think they don’t exist outright. The relentlessness of the ad campaigns and seeing  the way everyone has one just makes people makes people regard smartphones the way they do their social security cards. The old phones got pushed out of the public sight; declared obsolete. As the sight of an internet-less phone becomes more and more peculiar, the memory of life before Siri is effectively buried. I can’t wait to to tell my grandchildren about video games you only had to pay for once.

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