I feel like smartphones have replaced TVs as the consumer electronics device to be smug about not owning. With apologies to the Onion:
CHAPEL HILL, NC–Area resident Jonathan Green does not own a smartphone, a fact he repeatedly points out to friends, family, and coworkers–as well as to his mailman, neighborhood convenience-store clerks, and the man who cleans the hallways in his apartment building.
"I, personally, would rather spend my time doing something useful than play with my smartphone," Green told a random woman Monday at the Suds 'N' Duds Laundromat, noticing the other customers' gigantic phablets. "I don't even own one."
According to Melinda Elkins, a coworker of Green's at The Frame Job, a Chapel Hill picture-frame shop, Green steers the conversation toward smartphones whenever possible, just so he can mention not owning one.
Elkins said Green always makes sure to read technology news sites like Slashdot and Hacker News, "just so he can point out all the devices and apps he's never heard of."
"Last week, on some website, there was an article about Instagram," Elkins said, "and Jonathan announced, 'I have absolutely no idea what this app is. Insta-what? Am I supposed to have heard of this? I'm sorry, but I haven't.'"
Tony Gerela, who lives in the apartment directly below Green's and occasionally chats with the 37-year-old by the mailboxes, is well aware of his neighbor's disdain for smartphones.
"About a week after I met him, we were talking, and I said something about screen sizes being too big," Gerela said. "He asked me what I was talking about, and when I told him it was about smartphones, he just went off, saying how the last phone he owned was some device from Motorola, and even then, he would only use it to make phone calls."
Added Gerela: "Once, I made the mistake of saying I forgot to charge my battery last night, and he started in with, 'Last night? I don't know about you, but I only charge my battery twice a week!"
"I'm not an elitist," Green said. "It's just that I'd much rather create content on my desktop than stand there passively swiping away at some glass screen."
"If I need a fix of passive content consumption, I'll go watch a movie I downloaded from BitTorrent on my desktop," Green said. "I certainly wouldn't waste my time with so-called social media or, God forbid, any of the inane social apps the new tech startups pump out."
Continued Green: "People don't realize just how much time their smartphone-using habit–or, shall I say, addiction–eats up. An hour of smartphone usage a day, over the course of a month, adds up to 30 hours. That's more than an entire day! Why not spend that time living your own life, instead of broadcasting to your friends every little thing that you do? I can't begin to tell you how happy I am not to own a smartphone."