When it comes to phones, I’m a dinosaur no more

My dumbphone was making me dumb. I was one of those dinosaurs who had a generic cellphone that could call, text and not much else. I kept it in my purse for emergencies and oftentimes didn’t bother to turn it on.

To be honest, I was annoyingly self-congratulatory about the whole thing. “Think about how much money I save,” was my response when anyone questioned me about it.

True, my pathetic phone was cheap. But I was missing out on a lot.

Unless I was home, I was very difficult to get a hold of. On the rare occasion I’d answer a text, my friends would respond with “OMG! Jenny texted!”

When I chaperoned a field trip to the state Capitol last spring, I wanted to Google a state representative who was meeting us. Another mom lent me her phone and I didn’t even know how to use it. I felt pretty pathetic.

The simple decision to save money had strangled my cultural literacy.

It reminds me of how some people in the 1980s decided to stick with phonebooks and typewriters instead of computers. At the time, that seemed like the frugal move. But three decades later, the world has evolved without them.

I didn’t want that to happen to me. But what type of smartphone should I get? I was completely bewildered. I didn’t even know how much data I would use.

I asked for help on my Facebook page and half of my friends recommended one phone and the rest another. But my niece had the strongest argument. “Listen to the teenager,” she said. “Get an iPhone.” The next time I saw her, she gave me a very patient tutorial on how to use one. Everyone should be blessed with such a kind teacher.

By the time I went to the store, I felt a lot more confident. Of course, not as confident as my 5-year-old, who picked up every phone on display and instantly found a game to play. She might also have been creating a stock portfolio; I don’t know. These new phones can do everything except pick your nose.

While my daughter went into a tech coma, I whipped out my credit card. I was all set to buy an iPhone and make my family proud. My niece is right — iPhones really are user-friendly.

But then I noticed that on the Samsung Galaxy, you could get Polaris Office, which is a word-processing application for your phone. Instantly I imagined typing out future columns while I waited on the bleachers during swimming lessons. Of course, I’ve done this in the past with a good old-fashioned pad of paper, but whatever. Typing on a smartphone is a lot cooler.

So guess what? I’m now the proud owner of a Galaxy S5. The jury’s still out on how it affects my wallet … and my IQ.

Jennifer Bardsley blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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