Why I don’t own a smartphone

I’m spending a lot more time at the Yuppiechef HQ these days and perhaps understandably, considering that they are the best e-commerce company in South Africa, everyone is rather taken by the fact that I don’t have a smartphone.

In fact, I haven’t had a smartphone for quite some time now and have absolutely zero interest in ever getting one.

Instead I happily use a very basic Samsung feature phone. I can’t tell you what model it is, because it’s so basic they didn’t bother to print a model number on the thing. But I love it!

Although it’s referred to as a feature phone, it doesn’t have many features at all. There is no camera, it can only store a hundred SMS messages at a time and the keypad sticks a bit when you type too quickly. But the battery charge lasts for up to two weeks, I can throw it out of a second story window onto concrete and it’ll be just fine. And if it ever gets submerged underwater I know that with an overnight rest in a bag of rice, it’ll be right as rain the next day.

The reality is though that I know that I’m addicted to information. If I had to have an iPhone, I would spend way too much of my life staring at it and missing important things that I would rather store in my memory, than as an image file somewhere on a phone. I think an iPhone is one of the greatest tools every invented, but just not in my hands.

What life without a capable phone does do for me however, is that it forces me to take down physical hand-written notes in a weird pink notebook. If I know that I want to take pictures, I haul my massive Nikon D7000 out of its lavish resting place and dedicate myself to playing photographer for the day. If I’m away from my desk and laptop — I’m away from work e-mails, Twitter notifications, 24-hour news feeds, problems and stress.

Computer packed away…hello life.

You can call me a hipster if that makes you happy, but isn’t a hipster then just somebody that doesn’t want to live an overly-processed life?

Funny thing is, since ditching the smartphone, I’ve uncluttered and un-measured other parts of my life too. I love trail running on the mountains, but I never take a watch to time or measure myself doing that. Why would I want to time myself doing something I love? It’s not like I’m going to compete in the Olympics or become a professional runner. I canned my DSTV subscription, because I found myself glued to the 24-hour news channels all of the time. It became less about being informed of the happenings of the world and more about the next episode of Saga Earth.

It’s easy to allow tools that are meant to add to your life, to become way more than that and rule your life. Technology is brilliant and I can’t think of a more exciting time to be alive. But for me the magic of the new tech tools themselves needs to be maintained by using them sparingly and only when necessary. I kind of feel that I want to maintain just a hint of innocence and mystery for my mind by just not being too plugged in. I’m busy writing my own life story here, I don’t want to die one day and all I can remember is the stuff that I read and watched on some digital screen.

So perhaps in solidarity for my crazy analogue belief, Shane and Andrew (technology pioneers and founders of Yuppiechef) have now also got themselves Nokia 105 feature phones. At the end of the work day, the technology is put away, the Nokia 105 is fired up and family life begins without the interruptions of the big, noisy world out there. It’s only been a couple of days with the new phones, but I’m certain that from now on, after hours are going to feel like a holiday.


Originally published at www.cherryflava.com on September 3, 2014.