To flip or not to flip, that is the question.
Five months ago, my iPhone slipped out of my back pocket and plopped in the toilet. The submersion only half-killed it: it lost cellular capacity, which means it turned into a small computer that can't be used as a telephone. Rather than getting a replacement smartphone right away, I paused to take advantage of the unfortunate event and conduct an experiment:
Would a flip phone simplify my life, help me be more present to the world in front of me, help me break bad habits of enmeshment with my smartphone?
I paid $10 for a flip phone, activated it, and began the experiment. Today I'm following through with the final step of the Scientific Method: communicating the results.
1. I'VE BENEFITED FROM THE TECH DETOX.
I am now less of a slave to my phone/devices. I've decreased my texting and increased my voice-to-voice phone calls, which has positively impacted the relationships that matter most. Being out and about without a smartphone has made me more free, more present, more calm, which has resulted in more joy.
2. MY LIFE HAS NOT BEEN SIMPLIFIED.
I'm a stay-at-home mom who manages my household and my children's lives, and texting is the easiest way to schedule and check in/confirm with people. Texting with a flip phone has been a nightmare; such a nightmare that I won't even go into all of the nightmarish details. In two words: unreliable and time-consuming. I've also been carrying around both my half-dead iPhone and my flip phone (it's okay, you can laugh, my husband does too), which most certainly is not a simplified life. I use the half-dead iPhone for: directions—I map something at home with WiFi, take a screenshot of it, and bring the iPhone with me; Instagram— you need a smartphone to post; iMessaging when I can get on WiFi—anything to avoid flip phone texting; and photography.
3. MY FLIP PHONE HAS BEEN A NUISANCE TO OTHERS.
Did she ever get my text? Do I text to her phone number, or @icloud.com, or @me.com? Texting has been so hit-or-miss that some people have begun texting both me and my husband, knowing that if the message doesn't get to me, at least he'll get it. My husband loves this (not).
In summary, the flip phone satisfies my craving for a less connected life, but it has not simplified my life. The reality is that I need easy texting, and the flip phone just can't deliver in this arena. Therefore, it's time to transition back to one phone, one smartphone. I'm thankful for the experiment and will now focus my efforts on being a smartphone user with exemplary boundaries. So help me God.
Flip, thank you for the lessons you taught me and the bad habits you broke, I won't quickly forget our 5-month relationship and I bid thee a fond farewell. P.S. You'll need to stick around until I get a smartphone.