Inspired by this song:

“I wish I were 55 already” is a sentence I didn’t think I’d ever say. Yet T‑Mobile has a very affordable plan for seniors 55 and over, which caught me by surprise.

I’ll put on my classic, seasoned face for this: I was an adult before cell phones existed. At that time —to me— the greatest luxury was not wearing a watch, seizing the day, living the way one feels, and engaging in the moment without planning or watching the time. I had come to New York to study with a suitcase full of art supplies, and this dislike of wearing a watch probably was a form of revolt, being a punk shedding my Germanness, fleeing a society genetically prone to punctuality and efficiency. While I was fashionably late for some college courses, I am unsure if I can ever allow myself to be unpunctual. But this is about my love/hate relationship with my shit phone.

These days, I carry a ‘smart’ phone like everyone else. It is the first thing we look at when we wake up and the last thing to hold to the cradle at night and tucking it into its charger. Its constant notifications are annoying, always asking for attention. I block out most news these days. Bricks control this society we carry in front of us like zombies. We eagerly pay 1000s of dollars to be always reachable, to be distracted from where we are, to take and share countless pix of things that will sink into the detritus of a data cloud, to let others change or cancel plans on a whim, and —I am giving up in exasperation— of course, it has a built-in watch, goodbye carpe diem.

If you knew me, you would agree that I am a meticulous planner, reliable, and, yeah, dependably on time. Being late insults me; I would certainly never do that to you. As a freelance Graphic Designer, I have never worked a traditional 9–5 job, but I love this freedom above all. if I felt like it, I could say TGIF on a Tuesday—not that I would ever have time for that.

These days, I carry a mobile phone like everyone else. It is the first thing to look at when we wake up and last when tucking it into its charger at night. At large, its notifications are annoying. I block out most news these days. But it’s comical how we carry these bricks around in front of us like zombies. We eagerly pay 1000s of dollars to be always reachable, to distract us from where we are, take and share countless pointless pix of things that will sink into the detritus of our data cloud. We let others change or cancel plans on a whim, and —I am giving up in exasperation— of course, it has a built-in watch, goodbye carpe diem.

Yet, apparently, the day of reckoning is close. I will soon be tucking in my tail like a dog and taking the mammoth, life-changing purchase decision: what new phone will it be? Can I contemplate paying lots of money to a company I dislike for something that looks like shit and causes me anger? I even considered bundling it with an Apple watch—hard stop, record scratch sound: This doesn’t feel like me anymore; it’s a betrayal of numerous firmly entrenched values.

I don’t value this phone; it’s my teenage daughter’s old iPhone 6 in rose gold. Apps crash, the battery life is crap, and it’s ugly. I like that it tells me to bring an umbrella courtesy of the weather app. The health app is cool, but my rating of this phone still stands at minus four stars. I dislike using it; I don’t answer most calls as I can’t figure out how to turn on the ringtone. I wouldn’t even mind the social suicide of not having a phone since my texting skills are borderline pathetic. I don’t connect through social media unless it’s a job. And please don’t ask me to remix or post your story in any way or form. From experience, I promise you, it will be a trainwreck.

Or, I could be that rebel. When the iPhone came out in 2010, I stood my ground with a weird Nokia flip phone with a hole into which one can strap a charm. Mine was a Japanese Cewpee mayonnaise doll, mildly Weebly in hindsight. Yes, it’s a dumb phone and makes answering texts even more of a punishment, and didn’t they say it would deform our thumbs?

goop, Gwenneth Paltrow’s lifestyle and wellness brand, makes a slick-looking phone. The satin screen looks like a Kindle. The website is minimalist, black and white, well, hmm, trendy. The logo resembles Chobany yogurt, a fat Caslon-style serif, in lowercase, fitting its rich understatement. The only description on the website is that this phone’s primary functions are calling, texting, navigation, music, podcasts, and an alarm clock. No refunds. It does look pretty slick, earning it a thumbs up in the consumer’s initial visceral-reaction stage. I kind of wish I could attach a camera, but the rest of the functionality checks out in the behavioral user experience. Its pretentious arrogance does reflect my personal style; are we a match? My hunch: this will be discontinued.

As of the time of writing, I have forgotten to charge my phone, which is at 1%. And, honestly, I couldn’t care less. Your best bet to reach me is in person: come by my studio and talk; I have an excellent coffee machine. You might want to send me a quick email to ensure I am here; I will respond because I am a puppet master of the computer, reliably reachable. And if you are here, your phone won’t matter because, as Erykah Badu knows:
You ain’t gonna text no one when you with me
I can make you put your phone down
I can make you put your phone down…