Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Being Present

When we moved back to the U.S. in July, I found the whole cell phone issue a bit overwhelming. Plans and prices are much different here than they were in Spain. For one thing, in Spain you don't pay for calls that come into your phone, only calls you make.

After looking at prices, we decided to keep it simple and use Tracphone. We already had one phone from our last furlough, so we bought two more. All of our phones were under $20 each, and all came with double minutes for life. We enrolled in a family plan that costs us $19 each month for all three of our phones. The first phone gets 100 minutes and the other two get 80 minutes. So far we have never run out in a month.

Although I am pleased about the small price, the thing that makes me happiest about our phones is that they are not fancy, but they keep our life simple. Neither Troy nor I really need a smartphone for our  jobs, but I find that having "low-tech" phones also keeps us present. (My phone does have a camera, and I can get on the web but I only use that if I need to urgently.)

I like to people watch. One of the things that has struck me since we moved back is how often people tend to look at their phones, even when they are with other people, both in work settings but also in down-time. They check their email, they chat, and whatever other fancy things their phones can do. More than once I have watched someone sit silently while their companion pays attention to their phone.

Today I was in a meeting and we had a short break. I looked around the table, and probably 90% of the attendants had taken out their phone and were engrossed. For some of them it was probably work-related but I think most of us did not have phones given out by our employer, or emails that needed to be dealt with immediately.

I am not trying to say that smartphones are bad, or criticize the people that use them. But for me personally, I am glad that my basic phone keeps me interacting with those around me. I think I would miss out on a lot of great conversations and experiences otherwise.

What about you?


  1. Amen, girl, you preach it. this ol' technophobe will stay disconnected. from your Col Springs "people"

  2. I've watched WAY more TV here at my parents than I ever do at my own house, so I've seen this new commercial for the Windows phone (I think :)) and it shows all these people so engrossed in their phones that they just do ridiculous stuff...I laugh every time!!

    I've had Brendan's blackberry while back here in the US and we had to get a data plan with it. I've never had a smartphone and haven't used those capabilities much so far but it has been nice on occasion...checking email or directions while away from the house.

    But I completely agree that for myself I prefer the not-so-smart phones. :)I've actually been w/out a cellphone for the entire time we lived in Spain and I've been amazed at how many people were surprised I could do w/out one.


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