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Flipping out, so enough already
TECHNOLOGY is considered essential to a good quality of life for many, but Jane wonders if we haven’t taken things a bit to far. Next thing we know, we may see Jane and Finnegan tooling around in a horse and buggy.

VIOLA - “If one more person tells me there’s an app for that, I’m gonna kick ’em in the shins!” And so began another day of being smartphone-less.

My dander had been rising for years, but now I was boiling mad at the number of people who assumed I owned a smartphone, a GPS, caller ID, and various apps.

“I don’t even know what an app is, let alone have one,” I complained to Dane. “And it’s rude to assume that financially or even morally we should all have one!”

I didn’t stop. 

“I mean, I choose not to have TV and no one is the wiser. But don’t text, and the whole community is horrified.  My grandkids never even check voicemail!” 

And on I went.

Dane had stopped listening a long time ago.

Before the pandemic, Dane and I would occasionally go out to eat, and I’d point out other tables where everyone was happily engaged ... with their phones.

“Nope, never,” I’d tell him and grab the napkin to play our favorite word game where you can only change one letter to create a new four-letter word. I’d start with a swear word.

Not long ago, after taking a wrong turn in Cable, Wisconsin, I stopped a stooped old man out walking his dog. 

“Hi, I’m wondering if you can tell me where I went wrong,” I said in a friendly way. “I’m trying to get to the library.”

“Can’t you log into your phone for directions?”

Do you think I’d be stopping you to ask, if I could?I only thought that and didn’t say it, but I had the urge to kick again.

Watching a gal at the gas station only reaffirmed my decision not to have a smartphone. While her tank was filling she was busy texting away on her phone. The pump’s TV screen started talking and she angrily hit its mute button, yelling “Shut up!” Her actions seemed ironic to me, but perhaps it was just a computer-overload moment.

I’ve heard the argument that people prefer texting because it’s silent. I’ve even had an 87-year-old client tell me, “I love texting. If I’m baking, I don’t have to stop and answer the phone. I can answer when I’m finished.”

Gee, somehow I saw her as a grandmother who would love to hear her granddaughter’s voice. But I get it, I guess: convenience.

Working with clients who often need to cancel appointments has been problematic. When I knock at their door, they tell me, “I texted you an hour ago that I’m canceling—I’m not feeling well.”

“Sorry. I hope you feel better.” And just a reminder, I don’t text, nor can I even seea text on my ancient used flip-phone, gifted to me by a friend five years ago and held together with electrical tape, that has four microscopic letters for every teeny-tiny key.I don’t say any of that either, but I want to. I also feel another strong desire to kick.

I’ll admit I don’t know much about smartphones, but I do know they are expensive. Right there is a king-sized deterrent to my owning one.

How many times have I lost my used flip-phone? Let me count the ways. Better yet, buy Dane a finger or two of whiskey and ask him. Be prepared to listen awhile.

Not even a month ago, I showed up at his house shortly after he’d left mine. When I knocked on his door he was startled. 

“Aren’t you going to work?” he asked.

“I lost my phone,” I said.

“So why are you here?”

“Did you take my garbage?” I asked.

Dane has road-side service and I have Saturday dump service, so he sometimes takes my garbage home.

Giving me the stink-eye, he replied, “Yes, it’s still in the trunk.”

And togetherwe turned and walked out to his car.

Retrieving the stuffed bag and placing it on the ground, I told him to call it.


“Call the bag. I mean, get your phone and call me. If the battery is still charged it will ring.” I was proud of my brilliant plan. 

After another stink-eye look, Dane headed into the house while I loosened the tie at the top of the bag. 

“Pee-yew!” I exclaimed to nobody, and remembered the bag contained some well-used cat litter.

Dane dialed my number, and the bag rang from deep down inside, where no sane person would want to go. I slipped on a pair of plastic gloves, while Dane tactfully walked away. Minutes later I was holding my filthy phone and gaily yelling, “I found it!”

No smartphone and no apps (whatever they are) for this gal. I’m a dedicated flip-phone user for life.