Ditching the Smartphone

After talking and writing about it, I finally ditched my smartphone and switched to a flip phone, with the aim of being rid of a cell phone altogether.

It’s only been a few days, but the psychological and spiritual effect has been uplifting. I had come to view the stupid smartphone as one of the principal portals into our individual and collective imprisonment. Vaccine passports, digital ID’s, constant surveillance and control, all rely on us remaining chained to a gadget less than two decades old.

So chucking it felt not only necessary but cleansing, a Detox from addiction and dependency, a small step away from the increasingly repressive biosecurity state, which is confident that the masses will never get rid of this particular digital technology because, don’t you know, we simply can’t live without it.

I totally get the difficulties, though. For millions of people, the smartphone is a vital component to one’s job or education. I’m one of the fortunate ones where this doesn’t apply, and only for the grace have I been able to opt out relatively easy. I only got a cell phone five years ago; and a smartphone two years ago, mainly because of family members who virtually lived on text. I was also traveling a lot, and apps like Google Maps were a God-send.

But mainly I hated the thing, hated the feeling that I was growing used to it, embracing it even, eyes and ears magnetized to the screen. When the COVID nightmare came along, with its dystopian plans for an AI and QR future, my smartphone mutated into what it perhaps always was: a shackle. An instrument from which the powers-that-be were sneering at me, another fly trapped in their web.

I knew there existed plenty of warriors working on wresting control of digital technology from the ruling elite, and I fully support those efforts. Personally, however, I hungered for another route. I wanted off the express train, or to at least move towards that goal. Last year, I wrote an article about why I’m often a Luddite wannabe, and one of the questions I posed then was: Is it time to ditch the smartphone? At the time, I had purchased an unlocked Acatel flip phone on Ebay for less than $100, but never got around to doing the switch.

A week ago, I made the leap. It was surprisingly straight-forward. Here’s how it went down:

Since I’m a Verizon customer, I went to the dealership where I first set up a cell account a few years ago. Luckily, the workers there weren’t mask crazy, so I kept mine under my nose. It turned out I couldn’t just transfer my phone number because I was changing devices. Fine, I said. My current account still had a few days left, so I would just text the few people I used the phone for and let them know.

The young clerk at the counter was very nice and supportive. At one point, he told me that a lot of people were changing to flip phones because they were “easier to use.” Privately, I wondered if some of these people were as wary of the COVID bullshit and surveillance as I was.

I smiled and said, “Slow and simple is a better life style.” He nodded and agreed. I paid the activation fee, tested my new toy, and all was well.

“Have a happy holiday,” he said as we shook hands.

“You too,” I said.

Outside I pumped my fist in the air, as if I had scored a game-winning touchdown. I realized, of course, that this wasn’t some earth-shattering event. Yet it felt good to have moved in the right direction, a small step back to the slow and simple, which, paradoxically, could very well speed up resistance to the COVID agenda.

David Pérez is a writer, journalist, activist, and actor living in Taos, New Mexico. Read other articles by David.