Good-bye, sweet cell phone.
This month’s theme has me quaking (and not “Housequake”-ing), in my boots (or sandals, since it’s high summer). In August, I’m giving up my cell phone.
Dammit, Prince. Why couldn’t you have carried a cell phone like the rest of us?
Yes, it’s true, Prince had no cell phone, a fact that he discussed with Arsenio Hall in an interview on the Arsenio Hall Show in 2014. I debated whether or not the lack of a cell phone was part of Prince’s success, or simply a quirk of his personality or even paranoia about privacy. There’s an argument to be made either way. Certainly, security must have been part of the reason, as celebrity phones do get hacked with some frequency. I don’t have the same public pressures on me, and security and privacy are not of the same level of concern. I shouldn’t have to give up my cell phone, right?
On the other side is a simple truth: One of Prince’s defining qualities was his ability to be in the moment. And, he famously (notoriously) refused to allow phones at his parties at Paisley Park. He wanted people to be fully present for the event, not viewing it through a phone. What better way is there to stay in the moment than to keep the phone screen at bay?
I have to do it. The fact that it scares me definitely means I have to do it — this much I’ve learned from seven months of living like Prince.
Should this month end badly, thankfully, there is a villain to blame. Dear friend and fellow Prince fan Christine Trejo suggested this month’s idea after the experience she had when her son needed a cell phone and she needed to go away for a weekend. She left it behind with her son.
“I felt a bit lost without it at first but then it felt really freeing,” she told me.
Her story made me think of Prince’s 2014 interview with Arsenio Hall. Arsenio asked Prince how he managed without a cell phone, and Prince said simply, “Everyone around me has one.”
My friend Christine experienced the exact same phenomenon.
“I was surprised when my friend’s phone rang with my mom on the phone,” Christine told me. “She called my cell and was given my friend’s number. This happened several times over the weekend. It made me realize people are resourceful if they really need to get a hold of you.”
Despite my fear and trepidation at the prospect, I know that Christine is right: It’s Princely to be cell-phone-free. And, it’s a way to make Prince’s ability to stay in the moment concrete and practicable, something I’ve been struggling to figure out how to implement. Thanks for solving my dilemma, Christine. I’ll text you in September!