You might have wondered, maybe just for a moment, what it’s like to live in another country. Maybe you’ve pondered how different things would be if you were a goat. Perhaps you’ve let your imagination run wild and you’ve pictured yourself at 10 Downing Street, running the country. But even a childhood spent binging on Roald Dahl can’t set the imagination up to fathom what it’s like being a 20-something without a smartphone.
Well, I’m about to share something pretty special with you. I’m not a goat, or David Cameron, but I do live my life with a Sellotaped, five-year old Blackberry without most of its functions. It can ring and text people, (as long as I don’t need to use the ‘a’ key) but who uses a phone to do that anymore?
It’s an assumption that everyone has a smartphone these days. I feel both inferior and superior with my little Blackberry – I can pretend it’s a choice, a stand against consumerism – when really, I'm stuck with it because I spend my money on nail polishes instead.
Rather than explaining how I make it through the day, I thought I’d tell you the pros and cons, just in case you ever fancy a downgrade. And because there’s little else to do with my time apart from widen my vocabulary of words with no ‘a’ in them.
A Blackberry doesn’t need as much charging, mainly because it doesn’t need using. I save a lot of valuable time by not having to plug my phone into its charger and take it out again.
Every day I’m reminded of what it was like to live in the olden days. I feel like I’m reliving history without the plague and it’s rather liberating.
You might sit on a train or stand in a queue and play your Candy Birds. But I can wonder about the world's bigger questions, look around at the delicate pleasures of nature that we never usually notice, and scare people when they look up for a second and see someone looking into space instead of at a mobile device.
It means you notice things – the sneaky crotch-scratch, sheepish nose-pick or de-wedgie. Not that I enjoy seeing those things, but I’m sure they’re more interesting than… I don’t really know what you do on smartphones these days.
Brands target people with the assumption they all have smartphones. ‘Upload a photo and tweet us’, ‘scan our QR code’, ‘download our app’ etcetera. But they don’t care about me, and I’m rather glad.
I’ve spent my Bank Holiday weekend enjoying a new subscription to the New York Times. I’m well aware that I’m so uncool I’m probably partly to blame for global warming. But not having a smartphone means you have no idea what’s going on. I only learnt what Tinder was three days ago (although I wish I could unlearn it).
The geography of London resembles someone eating a map and then regurgitating it. Or that’s what it feels like without a smartphone, anyway. Getting lost is just part of the deal when you have a crap phone - but at least I don't look like the idiot spinning round in circles as he swears at Google Maps for nearly getting him run over (another gem you often notice when you're not on your phone).
Having to use my brain