Prepare your best double-take. Take a mouthful of water for a spit-take. Put on your sunglasses and get ready to rip them off with a muttered “My ... GOD.”
I don’t own a cellphone.
I’ll give you a moment for your heart to start beating again, then I’ll up the ante: I have never owned a cellphone. I don’t want a cellphone.
I gave this no thought until I went back to college two years ago. Two different teachers, making some point or other, asked everybody in the class with a cellphone to raise their hands.
I was the lone holdout.
In both cases, the teacher asked, “What point are you trying to make?”
In both cases, I replied decisively with a series of blinks capped off with a devastating, “Uhhhhhh ...” It had never occurred to me that this was an issue.
I was never making a statement, much as I might like to make money at a modern art show by labelling myself “Man Without Cell.”
But a confession: I’ve since started to see the value of cellphones — mostly because they’ve made people lousy at setting up meetings. A friend will give directions like, “Let’s meet downtown!” and I’ll wander around with a question mark over my head knowing that the first thing after “Hello” will be “If you had a cellphone ...”
This perk — shutting up my smug friends — means I now need a rationale for going cell-less.
Fortunately, I have one: I do not see the value in being reachable at all times.
Cellphones have made us all small-scale Batmans, expected to drop whatever we’re doing as soon as Captain Coffeeshop or Commissioner Lawfirm calls.
Inevitably, a friend will counter-argue that, “You can just turn off your phone.”
Sure. And if buy a cheeseburger it’s only fattening if I eat it. Why would I carry a cellphone that I don’t want to use?
Besides, in my experience it never works that way. How often have you heard a friend say, “I have to answer it. It’s work.”
Nobody ever says, “I have to answer it. It’s spontaneous fun times with Keira Knightly!”
Cellphones are a corporate leash. If you have any problem with that opinion, call me. Your call is important to me.