The Last Man In America Without A Cell Phone

May 30, 2013 in Family life

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Yes, it’s true. There is one person left in the United States, and possibly the world, without his own cell phone.

That person would be my dad.

It’s not that he’s techno-phobic. Quite the contrary actually. The man owns an iPad, iTouch, iMac, MacBook Pro, and is a regular user of all forms of technology. He simply does not see the need to have a cell phone.

He rarely travels by car now, so it’s not like he’d be worried about having a flat tire and in need of calling for help.

He is retired, so he’s generally easy to reach at home. If he’s out, I leave a message and he calls me back. I know that sounds so 1980’s, but hey, it works.

I can almost understand his resistance to purchase a phone, and have even chuckled alongside him as he observes others around him who are cell-phone obsessed.

One time, my dad told me he was riding in an elevator and a woman was talking on her phone, but looking straight at my dad while she was chatting. At the end of her call, she said, “I love you” to the person at the other end of the line. Since she was looking at my dad at the time she professed her love, he shrugged and said back to her, “I love you too!?”

In yet another elevator “incident,” this time I was with my dad. We were in the hospital where he used to work and we entered an elevator crowded with hospital visitors as well as a few physicians and other hospital personnel. Every single person in the elevator was looking down at their phone, checking messages, sending texts, and otherwise distracted. I watched my dad observing everyone on their phones and when we exited he said to me, “I think I’m going to be the last person left who still looks up and at people.”

I think he could be right.

Except now that he lives on his own, I am insisting he has his own phone. For his 80th birthday, we gave him a gift card to purchase an iPhone. He claims he is waiting for the iPhone 5S to come out, and I know he will eventually cave and buy the phone.

I highly doubt he’ll become one of the phone-focused people who are always looking down. In fact, I bet the iPhone will rarely leave his pocket.

Even so, I’ll rest assured I can reach him at any time (assuming he turns the phone on).

And, I’ll also be proud knowing he was the last man still looking up.



Enhanced by Zemanta

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie May 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

My dad finally caved about 3 years ago, but still not sure how to use half of the half on his phone. and would also not be caught dead looking down at his phone at any given point. Think it is the generation for sure and can tell you I can so relate!! :)


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I think you’re right that it’s a generational thing…kind of scares me for our futures and our kid’s futures!


Cyndi May 30, 2013 at 9:02 am

I caved and upgraded from a dumbphone to an iPhone. Haha. I’m addicted to the thing. I listen to podcasts galore, use the timer, the calendar, play Tetris, check FB, email, do crosswords…oh and I use it as a phone. hahaha.
But for all that stuff I do, I generally DON’T keep the phone in my pocket. If I’m at school, I keep it in my car. Yes, my car. I’m only there a few hours a day and I don’t want to set a bad example. Plus, I get so many notifications (yes, we’re bloggers, lol) that I would die if I forgot to turn it off. I also worry about people stealing it and yes…not looking up at people. That was one of the reasons I held out: I don’t want to be “plugged in” all the time. Your dad’s got some sense. Tell him I said so. ^_^


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I will definitely tell him Cyndi! And I think it’s great you keep your phone in your car while at school teaching…if someone really needs to reach you, they can call the school. It sounds outdated, but land lines still work!


Kerrri May 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

Aw he is so cute! My hubs does have a cell phone, but not an e-mail address. The poor guy can barely get on a computer. So your dad is more advanced than you think!


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Wow, that’s amazing your husband does not have email! I think I actually envy him. :)


Barbara May 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

I’m probably the last woman who looks up !
Just like your Dad, have all the Apple stuff
but no iPhone…….where is your Dad living?
Maybe we should get together and look up
at each other !


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Too funny! You can find him on the upper west side, usually walking down Columbus and looking up. :)


Barbara May 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm

I’m at 73rd and Broadway these days and love Columbus…..but don’t walk too well…. can only make it a block or two….sprained my ankle, ugh!


Lindsay Bamfield May 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Love this post. Think I love your dad too and Janine’s, (can I join in Barbara?), especially his comment about looking at people. Physiotherapists and voice therapists (me) are seeing more people with neck tension from the posture we call tech-neck. I was at a study day and during the tea- break I was the only one not checking my phone, or texting. I was surrounded by tech-neck postures, and yes, they were all physiotherapists. I’ll be busy emailing your dad to tel him that my mobile lives switched off in my bag. Emergencies only!


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Wow, I can’t believe there is actually a term for that posture! I believe that neck tension (and finger cramping!) can be caused from it. Very interesting and appreciate you reading and commenting…


Melissa@Home on Deranged May 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

My dad does have a cell phone because he got rid of his home phone, which drives me crazy because he doesn’t keep the cell phone where he can hear it ring. But he swears he will never go to a smart phone, because he wants to have buttons to push. Go figure.


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm

That’s cute. My mom never went to a smartphone either and we used to make fun of her that it was an antique phone. :)


Amy May 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I think it’s great that he’s waiting. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a phone so I couldn’t be so obsessed with it!


ohboymom May 30, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Same here…there are definitely times when I feel like I’m a prisoner to my phone.


Joyce May 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm

When it comes to technology, kids are the natives and older folks are immigrants. This makes perfect sense.


ohboymom May 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm

True…I just worry what happens when the natives are the only ones left — will anyone look at each other anymore??


Barbara May 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I must admit…..I sleep with my iPad


ohboymom May 31, 2013 at 4:29 pm

The iPad can be kind of cuddly…:)


Melanie Chisnall May 31, 2013 at 3:12 am

Emily, you are a brave woman. My mom has had so many cell phones and we’ve shown her SO many times how to use them (they’re the simple ones…not with all the fancy aps and stuff), but she just refuses to learn. Then she asks my brother 20 questions about how to do things. Lol. I shouldn’t laugh…but it gets annoying. At least your dad has all those other gadgets…that’s very cool. 😉


ohboymom May 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Yes, I can see how some people are resistant to learning new technologies…I know I’m that way when it comes to anything technical regarding blogging!


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. May 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

What a great post! I love the elevator story… It sounds like he’s tech-savvy enough to be able to navigate the iPhone easily, but I bet you’re right about him keeping it in his pocket. And good for him- eye contact is becoming a lost art.


ohboymom May 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I agree — it kind of scares me! Will anyone look at each other in 10 years? Reminds me of the movie, “Wall-E.”


Kristi Campbell May 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Oh wow, that last line was beautiful. My parents have all (both remarried to others) gone with the iPhone recently. Sometimes, I still get phone calls from my step mom asking “how do I ____” but I’m (mostly) okay with that. My dad’s Mr. Techno and actually sends me gift apps – that’s a pretty fun perk. Glad your dad’s getting a phone. And that he looks up and at people.


ohboymom May 31, 2013 at 9:41 pm

That’s cute about your step mom…whenever my dad has a technical question about a computer, he calls my brother, but instead of speaking to him, he speaks to my brother’s 12 year-old son, who is our new “expert” on all things Apple and/or electronic.


Roshni May 31, 2013 at 7:05 pm

‘The last man looking up’. That is so neat! It is kind of pathetic that we are so obsessed with our phones now! I haven’t got an iPhone yet, but I will be getting one next month when my dinosaur phone contract runs out!


ohboymom May 31, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Have fun with the iPhone — it’s definitely hard NOT to be obsessed with it!


Julie' June 1, 2013 at 11:11 am

My dad caved two years ago– I gave him my old phone and he’s never gone back. It’s been really nice because we actually text and talk more!!


ohboymom June 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Sweet…I told my dad I was going to teach him how to text and join Facebook.:)


Kelly June 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

How funny is that? Your dad sounds like my uncle…and I bought him a cell because he refused and he broke down once and as glad he had that little life saver! HA! Good luck with your dad now, like you said, he has to turn it on. I’m laughing WITH ya!


ohboymom June 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Thanks and it’s okay if you laugh AT me too. :)


Rachel G June 4, 2013 at 6:45 am

‘Tis true, even my grandparents have cell phones. They do not know how to use their cell phones, but they have them. I’m of the generation that has owned cell phones since their teens, but I still believe in “looking up”. Neither my husband nor I have texting or internet on our cell phones. We don’t have a landline either, so they are our only phones–but I know I would feel very odd without being able to call someone at any time. I think a cell phone makes me a little braver about traveling alone!


ohboymom June 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Same here…I never get into my car without a cell phone because I always have that fear of a flat tire and no phone!


Elizabeth June 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Isn’t it amazing how we are becoming the worriers and the caretakers as our parents get older? It’s definitely true that we want to be able to reach our aging parents all the time. Somewhere along the way these roles switched and I’m still trying to get used to that.


ohboymom June 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I agree, it’s hard to get used to the role reversal with our parents…thanks for reading and commenting!


TMoney June 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Not the last man. I plan on being the last man w/o a cell phone. I’m younger than your Dad by a few years (only 42). But it’s becoming an awfully exclusive club – people w/o cells phones. I have a 55 mile commute each way to work, so about 1 every 2 years or so I panic my wife if I breakdown – and when my son asks for one, he can have the same one as his Dad !


ohboymom June 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

That is impressive! I hope you and my dad cross paths someday so you can both brag about being the “last men” to look up and not down at their phones. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: