Submitted by BookMAMA
I don’t have an I-phone. I have a phone but it’s not smart. It’s not a Blackberry or an Android. I don’t even know what an Android is. But my not smart phone does actually work—as far as that goes. People can call me or text me and I can call or text other people. I can’t check my emails until I get home, but I’m home fairly regularly. I can’t look up stuff or check on my facebook/tweet/instagram status but I don’t do any of that stuff so I’m good there.
I got the phone a few years ago, right before the big I-phone madness started. It’s just a neat burgundy Verizon phone that has a nice little keyboard for texting which I like because I’m still not great with the touch screens. Apparently any techno-device that is older than like, 6 months, is cause for general hilarity and scoffing. My brother in law asked me, “Is that your real phone?” Like what? As opposed to my drop phone? My burner phone for my drug deals and my boyfriends? My husband says, “Hey honey, the 90’s called, they want their phone back,” which is funny but totally not accurate. Even my 72 year old mother said to me just today when I kept dropping her call and having to call her back, “Oh you must be on that antique phone of yours.”
My friends deal with me like I’m handicapped in some way—only I’m handicapped by choice so they can openly voice their impatience and frustration. I can’t ever see the whole text chain of a conversation, so I often reply to things inappropriately or in a less than timely manner or to only one person, so if a lunch is being planned—one friend will know I can make it, but then the others have to ask again because I can’t reply all. I guess that’s sort-of a pain. And, I can never see pictures (or take pictures for that matter) because my screen is so tiny. And if someone sends me a bunch of emoticons with their message, it just comes up as symbols and lines like the sender is cussing at me.
It all started because I was trying to put off buying my daughter a phone for as long as possible, and I figured if she saw that I could live without an I-phone than she could too. And it worked! Plus, I saved her from endless hours of drama because she cannot be cyber bullied because she is not cyber. She also very rarely even knows what’s going on socially with the popular crowd in the 8th grade because she doesn’t have a phone. I asked her, “Do you care? Aren’t you kind of glad that you have good friends that will call you on the house phone or email you or COME OVER and stay in touch that way? Aren’t you glad that you aren’t up to the minute on who broke whose heart and who’s not speaking to whom in middle school? Trust me, I’m saving you from yourself and everyone else.”
And it was and is true. Absolutely true. But for the last few years, I was working at her school, so I had that silver bullet as well. I could say, “If you ever need anything, I’m right here on campus, so you really don’t NEED a phone.” And that was true. Well, now my younger daughter goes to a different school so I don’t work at the 1ST school anymore. So technically, daughter #1 could make the argument that she needs a phone—like to tell me when to pick her up or if there is a change in a schedule or what have you. Generally, she just borrows a friend’s phone to do those things, but I don’t want her to be THAT kid who is constantly using someone else’s stuff. I tell her to go to the office to phone me, but what teenager is going to walk to the middle school office when all 4 of her best pals have phones within reach? She really is the only kid in the entire school (world?) that doesn’t have a phone, but she has this amazing confidence and is pretty okay with it.
But yes, this past summer there were more than a few situations involving malls and amusement parks etc. where it would have been nice if we were in closer contact. Though, honestly, I took her and her pals to Sea World one day and they all had phones and the amount of “selfies” and videos made over a 5 hour period was absurd. My daughter and I were the only ones who watched Shamu with our eyes and not through an I-phone. Every time Shamu jumped the girls would yell, “Did you get that? Did you get that?” And then compare photos and miss the next jump. I’m like, yes, I got it—with my EYES AND MY BRAIN AND NOW MY MEMORY.
Anyway, and finally, for her birthday, which was in August, I was all set to buy her a phone. But truly, she hadn’t been bugging me about it at all, so rather than just go buy one and wrap it up and hand it to her, I gave her the option: I said, “Your dad and I think you are ready to have a phone and we want to get you one for your birthday, but it’s ultimately up to you, and of course you can pick it out etc. etc.” And she opted out. True story. She knows, right now, that if she wants a phone she can have one and she hasn’t said another word about it.
This might be a case of the apple not falling too far from the tree. I think she sees me sort of bucking the system and ignoring all the nay-sayers with my dorky little phone and she wants to do the same. She definitely agrees with me that being different and original should be a life goal and that all the best people are a bit strange. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but shockingly, I think she thinks I am a little bit cool still and she wants to be an individual, too. I have turned my “no smart phone” ways into a lifestyle challenge almost and I think she wants to prove to herself and to us that she doesn’t need it either. It’s almost a silent dare. So, we’ll see what happens. I probably just jinxed myself anyway…I mean she is 14. She could wake up tomorrow with zero tolerance for me and an unshakeable need to always be part of the WORLD WIDE (AND MORE IMPORTANTLY) MIDDLE SCHOOL WEB, but we’ll enjoy this reprieve while it lasts.