Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Like Dreaming

Yesterday, using my iPhone to try accessing Facebook, I got frustrated (again) by how slow the device is. Mine is the iPhone 3G and I got it in August of 2008. By the terms of the industry, it's an antique device. No wonder it runs so slowly. By now I should have upgraded at least once, probably twice and then I would be on Facebook in a jiffy.

But why?

Last night I was all set to go out soon and get an iPhone 4 with 8GB of memory. It was a compromise. Sure, there is the new iPhone 4S and there are versions that have much more memory, but I was economizing. The 4 with 8GB of memory was _only_ $99. I figured that economizing was the way to go. Last night, I was all set to go out and buy the thing soon.

But why?

That's the question I've come to this morning. If my phone doesn't work well to access Facebook, then maybe the solution is to not access Facebook on my phone. I know, it's crazy, but what if I don't really need to be connected with everyone all the time? Perish the thought.

I thought about it for a few moments and realized that I need my phone to do a few things. I need to be able to make calls on it. I need to occasionally figure out where I am with its GPS capability. I like to be able to take pictures with it. And once in a while I check mail, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ on it. The first couple are needs, the last two are wants. My phone can still do all these things even if it does some of them slowly.

So no new phone.

In some ways that's disappointing. I kind of got myself worked up to wanting a new phone last night. I thought of it as a treat. And I figured it would be a relief to be able to get online that much faster. But in many more ways, the decision that I'm coming to now is much more satisfying and it's not just because I'll have that hundred bucks still in the bank. It has more to do with the feeling of not buying something, of not engaging in the consumption mill, of staying out of the economy.

I've long been someone who gives into urges. As a kid that meant that I wanted to buy a lot of things and, when I couldn't afford to buy them, I stole. Lovely, I know, but it's true. I shoplifted, of all things, school supplies (I'm that much of a geek and always have been), thinking that the thing I stole was going to be great to have. Getting home, I almost always set the thing aside, threw it away, or lost it. As soon as I had stolen it, I felt lousy about it and didn't want it any more because I never really needed it. It was similar for many things I bought. I got them home and found that owning them took away all the wanting.

Wanting something is a lovely feeling. It's a dream. There are things in life that I want still and one of them is a really cool phone. But having the thing takes away the dream for me and I'm beginning to see that a better dream is what I need. It's not the thing that I'm after but the things I can do with that thing. Let me give you an example and wrap this up.

For the past few months I have been looking at GPS watches to use while running. At first I wanted the Garmin 610 because it is the top-of-the-line model. Then, as I started digging, I saw that it was more than I needed or wanted. I pared down and down until I had decided on the Garmin 210 which much more fit the uses to which I would put it. But at $200, I couldn't justify the purchase. It didn't make enough sense.

I started thinking, mostly while I was running, about how I would use a GPS watch. It was in no way necessary, but there were good uses I could put it to and I saw ways that it could change my running for the better, give me more freedom but still let me track numbers the way I like. And on one run, I figured that if I could find the thing for $100, then maybe I would get it.

The next day a reviewer I respect wrote of a GPS watch for $99 that fit exactly how I want to use the device.


I didn't just want the watch, I wanted the things I will do with it. That's a dream that works. And it fits with what my wife wants to do for me for Christmas.

Back to my phone. My dream is to do fewer things with my phone, to use it less, to get away from all this social networking stuff when I'm not at a computer. That's a good dream and, lucky for me, it requires that I not buy a new phone. And with fewer interruptions from my phone, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to do more writing and real dreaming.

Write on.