I don’t own a cell phone. I never have. When people learn this fact they usually react with an exclamation of shocked disbelief, as if I lead some sort of unfathomable existence of unmitigated depravation. As if the human race didn’t manage to somehow get along just fine until about 1995, when suddenly everyone—not just the doctors and drug dealers—seemed to get a cellular. But those of us old enough to remember the Time Before Cell Phones can attest to the fact that the early adopters of this technology were mostly assholes. As a single girl in New York throughout the 1990s I can tell you that, back then, the guy in the bar with the celly was the biggest douche in the room, and he was definitely overcompensating for something. A potential hook-up who flashed a cell phone? Total dealbreaker, a complete non-negotiable. My girlfriends and I laughed at those self-important clowns.
Now let me be the first to say that I know that not everyone with a phone in their pocket now is an asshole. But pushiness, lack of reflectiveness, indifference to smaller things: all normalized. In a lot of ways I think being "the biggest douche in the room" is rewarded now.
Anyway, I'd add something to her list of benefits to not using one. What to call it? Clearheadedness, maybe. For me it's easy enough to get lost in my own head. I don't need to be always chatting, texting, or God help us watching a movie while I'm walking down the street. So if I see a pigeon with a very fetching way of walking down the street, I can just stand back and enjoy. Let someone else worry about getting video feed.