Zero Dollars a Month?! That’s Impossible, Smidlap!
I’ll let you in on the secret: The way to having such a low cell phone bill is nothing illegal or immoral, it’s not having a smart phone machine that keeps it so low. I work in this factory with about 500 other people and have heard tales of my coworkers paying in the hundreds of dollars a month for smart phone plans for their families. After I shake my head and silently judge I’ll usually just change the subject. It’s not that I don’t find any use in cellular technology. I remember our 1991 Toyota Camry breaking down on the NY State Thruway about 14 years ago and neither me or Mrs. Smidlap having any way to call for a tow truck. Luckily, a good samaritan stopped and helped us call for help. Soon after that Mrs. Smidlap joined the 21st century and got a Blackberry machine on which she could get work email and make phone calls. She loves new technology and I will admit that she was able to work from her phone while we were travelling and it got us some extra vacation time over the years. I am the opposite regarding new technology in that it gives me a feeling of strong aversion. When I am bombarded with advertising for something I find useless not only do I not want it but I wouldn’t have it if you paid me and usually that ends in some kind of in-house rant or a tirade.
While I could see the utility in being able to call the cops if my car skidded off the road in the snow or report a crime, the advances in smart phones made the general population a whole lot dumber and poorer. The pure utility of making a call or sending an email remotely turned into something else when photos and video screens were introduced. What are most people doing on those machines that is so damned useful? sending emojis? Tweetering and ruining any chance of knowing any spelling or grammar? I think it’s funny the best and brightest are now compensated by tech companies for making shit like a new emoji or better f’ing selfie technology when they could be working on a better water treatment plant or curing diseases or making pothole proof roads. I think the Russians might be behind the greatest time and money wasting anti-social addiction of my lifetime. Maybe it was the Russians and El Diablo conspiring to make lives worse. I remember a time about 8 years ago we were sharing a beach place in North Carolina with a couple of friends and we were having a drink on the deck around sundown. It was a beautiful setting and I found myself sitting there with 3 people with their heads buried in their stupid phones. I held back a little but politely asked what the hell was so urgent in the plastic box that you would ignore that splendid scene at the beach?
Here’s another one for you. It was Christmas time a few years ago and we were sitting with my 20ish nephews listening to 90.7 WWOZ from New Orleans on the streaming machine. The announcer said that was one from Jimmie Dale Gilmore and I told the boys that he was in the Big Lebowski as Smokey in the bowling alley scene where John Goodman pulls out the gun. Without even hesitating they each picked up a phone machine as if to check on the pure gold nugget of wisdom I had just gifted them free of charge. I thought, maybe I’ll just shove those devices up your ass, but I’m tolerant. It’s just an internal conversation with myself.
The Cost is More Than the Price Per Month
What does your device cost? For most people it would be a set dollar amount but what about the cost of all the interactions missed where you might have otherwise talked to somebody face to face? I think it’s becoming a lost art? I am here to tell you that being unreachable is a tremendous gift. It’s all about some balance. I’ve read articles that say the cost of owning and driving a car is outrageous each month and that’s what I have to say about the smart phone. If you had to choose, would you give up your car or your phone? And, if you think about it, look at the plastic in those things. As far as I know the Apple company hasn’t yet introduced a farm to table iPhone. There’s a little food for thought today.
Let me know everything I’m wrong about on the subject.