No Service, No Problem.
So for any of the eight “loyal” readers I’ve manufactured into existence, and to those who may not be privy to my ramblings, we here at the Axe take a mildly hard stance against the heavy consumption of Smartphones and all that comes with ‘em —for the average owner that likely includes an application list a mile long.
I preface this post with the aforementioned comments because I am not entirely immune to the temptations of endless amounts of sun-drenched garbage available at my fingertips. Quite the contrary, considering my goddamn blog is available from any one of your preferred methods of technology gorging. What I CAN tell you is that I’ve recently made a conscious effort to whittle down on the time spent flicking my thumb up and down as if I’m trying to rid myself of a Slimer of a booger plastered to my skin. And now I’ve piqued my appetite for an Ecto Cooler. Ah well, it’ll have to wait.
Don’t let my crusade for a simpler life fool you in the slightest, for I had some help. Nothing kicks your ass into gear quite like an extreme event, right? There’s got to be twenty phrases out there today I could go hunt down on some irrelevant girl’s Instagram account stating something similar, yet I’m in no mood to contradict this whole article’s purpose and dive into that rabbit hole. Let’s just assume there’s an “influencer” out there sewing their inspirational quotes into a lonely patch quilt.
So a few weeks ago we had the good fortune of attending a family wedding in the far northwest reaches of the state of Montana. We hunkered down in a little oasis known as Whitefish. I’ve got a brother who lives up there and a cousin right down the road in Kalispell. Both towns more or less border the visual wonder that is Glacier National Park. If you haven’t been I implore you to try a visit sometime. Actually, scratch that. The place is a dump; worse than Columbus, Ohio, and that is saying something. Did you know that Columbus is Spanish for dumpster fire? Ya learn something new everyday. But why stop at one thing? Bet you didn’t know that Montana also has a higher cattle population than humans, and that it’s home to the largest Grizzly bear population in the lower 48. Given those last two stats, you can now understand how remote our celebratory destination truly was.
Cellular service was nonexistent. And I’m aware some of you believe that “nonexistent” means low bars or a mild walk to a spot where one could acquire a weak signal. You’d be incorrect by a long shot. Our phones were reduced to flashlights, and let me tell you, it was glorious. For damn near ten days I didn’t even know where that God-awful soul-sucker sat. The ball and chain was cut loose and liberation became a reality. By the end of the trip I prayed we’d experience an event that led us back to the days of landline communication. Fuck text messaging. Dry fuck social media. Life went back to SIMPLE. And to think all of this happened in the course of a week and a half!
Recall the landline days, if you will. You were either available or you weren’t. If your friends wanted to find you the best your siblings or your parents could do was provide guestimate coordinates. You could slip off the grid in under five minutes. Now? Shit, if you don’t respond to a text in under fifteen minutes you have an emotional train wreck on the other end of the line wondering what they did to offend you. All fabricated nonsense of course.
Such is the world we live in now I suppose. Oh how I’d love to believe it doesn’t have to be this way, yet how do we dial it back? Anything you could possibly want is vibrating in your pocket. And there’s the slip up: we DON’T need it; we want it. It’s a want, not a need. Do you really need your followers to like what you did two days ago? Nah, you just want the empty and meaningless validation that you’re living the “high life”. Do you really need your phone to tell you how to get from your current location to the bar across town? Nah, jam a paper map into your glove compartment and learn how to navigate like a fucking adult. We think the world with cease spinning if we’re not accessible 24/7. Spoiler alert: mama nature couldn’t give two shits about what we think; she’s still gonna keep spinning.
I’m tossing out a “call to action”. Leave your phone somewhere you can’t see it. Put that bitch on vibrate or silent mode. Walk away. Pretend you’re a kid again and the only way someone can reach you is through that rotary phone screwed to the wall. What’s there to be afraid of? Truly —ask yourself that question. And if you’re afraid then take a step back and recall some of the simple pleasures of life ruined by phones. Oh yes, examples are forthcoming….
Concerts. Jesus Christ! Have you been to a show in the last decade? Who’s genuinely enjoying a show if they’re spending the entire night recording low-grade video they can’t wait to paste all over the twelve social media accounts they’re currently juggling? And now you’ve pissed me off because I have to watch the show through your goddamn screen.
Meals. Brunch, lunch, dinners and any other public culinary gathering you can think of. I dare you to tell me you’ve sat a table where food was being served and someone wasn’t balls deep in their screen. Nothing says quality conversation like a friend diddling with their phone under the table while someone else is telling you all about the sexcapade they had the night before. Do everyone you’re with a favor and have the waitress earn her tip by jamming your phone into the ice machine in the back of the restaurant. You’re being an inconsiderate asshole.
Let’s pause here to acknowledge my crucifixion. I’m no better than anyone else —my phone’s throwing me promiscuous glances as I write. Doesn’t mean I can’t shout to the masses! Ditch the anchor. Better yet, to soften the blow, treat your Smartphone like a landline. Formulate plans and drift off into independence. Find your way the old fashioned way. Make a game of it. Your friends want to meet up at a favorite local watering hole? Settle on the destination and head out. Uh oh, no one’s there upon arrival? Shit. Time to pivot and find out how much hound’s blood is coursing through your veins. Hope you walked out your door equipped with a magnifying glass, monocle, and top-hat because you’ve just been challenged to pull of a feat of the Sherlock Holmes variety. Get after it!
Hell, ya know what? No one reads this shit anyway. I’m tossing words out to the ether. I enjoy the freedom. In a sick way I enjoy knowing that I’ve consciously put my phone in a spot where I’ll never see or hear what someone’s sent me. I enjoy the freedom. I’m not here demanding you flip the switch but maybe give it a shot. Either way this post falls on deaf ears. It was fun while it lasted.