A Flippin’ Shame, Part Deux

Since I had to post from Facebook last night in the wake of the plethora of site issues dogging Posterous, here’s the one from yesterday. Gotta keep the actual blog populated whenever the window of opportunity opens, ya dig?

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A few weeks back, I wrote about how I got a new phone. Not a smartphone, just a plain ol’ phone.

After having a Blackberry with my personal cell number that my old job would partially reimburse me for, I found myself starting a new job and having a new, fully-funded Blackberry with my own, new work cell number attached to it. Without the need for two Blackberry devices, much less my own that I would now be footing the entire $130-a-month bill for, I swung into an AT&T store one day and asked them to remove the data plan so that I could use the old ‘berry as only a calling and texting device (thus cutting my bill in half).

Nope, they couldn’t do it. Every smartphone apparently needed a corresponding data plan, so I did away with it entirely – all to keep my own cell number intact.

My new phone is bare bones: it was the cheapest I could find (free after mail-in rebate), and it really does only what I need it to do: make and receive calls and texts. Despite its newness, it’s also immediately archaic since it’s a keyboard-less flip-phone…which I’ve been OK with, even though I now have to press numbers repeatedly to get to my desired letter when texting.

That is, I’ve been OK with it until recently. I was having a meeting in my office last week and my cell phone rang. I ignored it, and since I didn’t tend to it right away, I then realized it “reminds” you every minute or so with a gentle ring that you have a message waiting.

I excused myself, checked the phone, and was met with “Ohmygosh! You have a flip-phone?!”

It was a hysterical moment, because I clearly had forgotten how many people DON’T have flip-phones anymore. It’s not like I was being ridiculed, but the phone was clearly being scrutinized and judged.

For some reason it reminded me of when I was in 5th grade and, after opening my mouth and singing after school among friends one day, was laughed at and told that I sounded like Kermit the Frog.

Only I wasn’t trying to sound like Kermit.

From that day on, I’ve been reluctant to sing in anyone’s presence, unless my warbles are camouflaged by a choir or, like, an entire arena of people at a concert.

Similarly, I’ll probably now feel self-conscious about whipping out the flip-phone in a crowd. I imagine I’ll likely keep it on silent in the presence of others, lest I be tempted to bring my brand new dinosaur out for public scrutiny.

That aside, its qualities remind me that the latest and greatest isn’t always the best. Sometimes they can be a money-suck, and for me, I’ve found that the more bells and whistles something has, the more I expect – period. The more I expect speed, the more I expect instantaneous gratification. The more I expect out of every gadget and the less I realize that sometimes the best things in life are the simple things.

Today I am thankful for my archaic dinosaur of a phone which takes ridicule like a champ, and in the meantime reminds me of what’s important for me in my own life. My phone may be a flippin’ shame to others, but it’s flippin’ freeing to me.

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