Cellphone Zombie Wants To Go Off Grid

Published 10:24 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

I’ve become one of those people I detest — the ones who sit around enthralled with their cellphones. The zombies. At the airport, at the restaurant, while walking down the sidewalk … people have an umbilical cord attachment to their phones.

To my dismay, I’ve become one of them.

In retirement, I plan some personal improvements starting with my phone habits.

Next week I’ll cut off my company-issued iPhone 8s — with unlimited data, sophisticated camera, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, Google Earth, Instagram, Facebook, Gmail, FaceTime, Weather Channel alerts, iTunes, Twitter, bird idenfication app, tree identification app, CBS Sports … and tons more.

My phone now sends me an alert whenever it’s about to rain in Round Hill, Va. That’s been happening a lot lately.

I don’t have to know.

Instead of a helpful tool, the cellphone has become a cross to bear. Many times I have unconsciously and accidentally left it behind.

I hate those work-related phone calls and texts and emails that have chimed on my phone in recent years. I got one last year while in the middle of Arizona.

That’s too much connectivity.

I’m going off the grid.

“Dad, you can’t do that,” my college man lectured. “It’s selfish.”


I won’t be able to send my silly birthday videos to the grandchildren, he reasoned. Even worse, I won’t have the GPS routing device that is so important to young people with no sense of direction.

I can find things using a compass.

There was a time when we didn’t have these luxuries. I’m old enough to remember when a work “crisis” could wait 20 minutes until you got there. In another week, I won’t be having any of them.

I want an old fashioned flip phone … if they still make them. I want to do harmful things to my iPhone — drown it, run over it with the car, bang it with a hammer like Hillary Clinton’s folks did with her campaign devices.

Sure, I’ve become addicted to some Twitter accounts, particularly a World War II history site, to conservative pundit and man-eater Ann Coulter and to Mauren Dowd of the New York Times. They may have to Tweet without me.

Instead, I’m going to dig out my library card and start reading the Great Books — those novels I’ve always meant to read and put off. I want to read more of Hemingway and Steinbeck and Faulkner and their friends.

I’m going to read the Bible regularly, instead of now and then. I’m going to write letters that require stamps.

I’m going to stop and smell the coffee. I won’t pretend I’m offended and boycott Starbucks. I’ve been drinking their coffee for nearly three decades.

• • • • •

I’ve been reading some Revolutionary War-era speeches and letters. Contrary to the beautiful poem about his midnight ride, Paul Revere’s personal account includes his harrowing arrival at the Colonial Army camp. A nervous soldier threatened to blow Revere’s head off if he made a wrong move.

– Dwight Sparks