Ryan Chartrand

As the twilight of my youth quickly vanishes into the painted landscape of trivial human experience, I fondly memorialize these “college years” and shed the na’ve resolve of my former self to embrace modernity unmatched.

Gone are old models of social propulsion and cultural evolution where intimacy, long walks with lovers, and deep conversations with friends are regarded as benchmarks of happiness and individual success. Today we have gadgets. Or more specifically, today we have the cell phone.

Life was a very different proposition before the existence of cell phones. Before cell phones, there was human interaction. Before text messaging, there was actual conversation. Before iPods, we had tapes. Before DVDs, we had VHS. But most importantly and probably most pressingly, before cell phones we all had souls.

As a certain genius friend of mine so astutely pointed out one cozy afternoon over some drinks, “life without a cell phone is like living without electricity, indoor plumbing, or a microwave . it’s just way more complicated.”

Standing on this ledge of impending technological devastation, I now know that the future will be a wasteland of forgotten potential, or at least for me it will as I’ve come to understand something about myself: I cannot live without my cell phone.

I know this after experiencing a sequence of very unfortunate events whereby I was forced to trudge through life without a cell phone in hand.

I will briefly tell my very sad tale of life post cell capabilities: it all started two weeks ago when my dear father cut me out of our family shared plan.

Apparently, Verizon Wireless decided to inform my authoritarian father that his precious daughter was running the phone bill into the sky.

Now I know what you’re thinking – “Damn Alle, that sucks, now you have to pay your own cell phone bill.” To which I scoff, yeah right, you obviously don’t know me. I will wait it out.

In the weeks following the premature death of my cell phone, I experienced a kind of pain and agony unmatched by any other experience to date.

Actually, I’m quite melodramatic. It is true, however, that the people who know me best will vouch for my depression.

On a very serious note, I did learn a moral lesson as I did have an epiphany of sorts. Although I never imagined an existence without the capability of calling whomever, whenever, I survived this ordeal.

Not only was not having a cell phone a kind of unplanned cloistering, but in many ways it was an experience that forced me to appreciate the lesser-used, archaic forms of communication that seemed to have been abandoned for far more technological appetites. For example, the hugely debatable landline or instant messaging concepts.

For me, no longer was small chat at the ready and on the go, no longer could I send that two-sentence text message whenever I had the urge, but I was compelled to have lengthy and meaningful conversations with those people whose phone numbers I amazingly managed to memorize.

So ultimately, this is a survivor’s tale. I thought not having a cell phone would very well be the end of me. But it wasn’t.

Although it pains me to say it, not having a cell phone was quite refreshing. I had quiet time to reflect on more pressing issues of politics, economics, religion, gender, and society. If not having a cell phone means more people start to think and reflect on the world we live in, I say chuck it – cell phones make life complicated.

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