MY NEW DUMBPHONE
I have issues with anxiety.
Random things make me nervous, including Whole Foods Supermarkets, video advertisements at gas stations, and endless rows of suburban lawns.
There isn't anything inherently wrong with any of these things, I know. But they freak me out to the point where (when nobody is looking) I turn my back when I pump gas at the airport, and I always avoid big chain food markets where the almond butter brands are all the same— even if I have to drive way out of my way to go to a store I like.
I also have a big problem with owning too much stuff I don't use. I founded @budnitzbcycles mainly because I wanted to own just one beautiful and perfect bicycle and use it forever. Ello emerged out of a desire to have one beautiful place to find and post things, and to meet people that inspire me.
I don't walk around hiding my head inside a black hoodie (even if I feel like it sometimes). Over years of practice I've learned that by accepting who I am without beating myself up about it, even if who I am sounds a little crazy, I'm able to choose to act more or less "normal" when I want to. Meet me, and you'll have no idea that the shade of the paint in the restaurant we're sitting in is making me feel a bit off.
But lately I've begun to notice that my iPhone is really a very, very big problem.
What happens is, a friend texts me. I grab my phone — and then by habit I check my email. Pretty soon like many people I'm down a rabbit hole looking at the weather, the BBC home page, or checking if Die Antwoord have said anything else totally awesome or horrible lately (usually both). And after a little while I notice I'm really, really nervous and I can't explain exactly why.
I've been searching for an alternative for a while, a way to get out of smartphone hell, and last week @cgwarex posted about this phone by Swiss design company Punkt.
The Punkt phone does just two things, and it does them very well: it makes calls, and it sends texts. Kind of old fashioned. It looks nice too, kind of reminds me of the black slab in 2001 A Space Odyssey.
No maps, no email, no browser.
My plan is dump my iPhone, and carry the Punkt.
When I want to use Ello or send an email to a friend or find my way to a new ski trail or play Die Antwoord, I'll carry my iPad Mini with me. When I don't plan to do any of these things, I'll leave the iPad at home.
I figure that by splitting what's urgent (calls & texts) from what isn't (everything else), I may live with a little bit less anxiety.
I know I'm an extreme case, and I create stuff for a living. But my experience is that simplification, even at the price of convenience, is the next wave that's coming to the products that we use and that fill our lives — both real and virtual.
Ello (I think) is part of that wave.
Doing better, having more fun, and feeling more comfortable (a place to belong) with less makes our experience of our own lives better.