Hax: Don't judge others by their gadgets

The Washington PostJuly 18, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: I don't own a cellphone or have cable TV. What is the most polite way to respond to people who look at me like I've grown a second head when I tell them I can't "text" them or call them from every spot on the earth?

I have a full life, am working on my college degree at night and do own a laptop for school work, email and Internet browsing. I don't need to be wired 24/7 to be a complete person. My workplace and friends think otherwise and have been quite aggressive about trying to correct this problem they think I have.

I don't want to delve into my lifestyle. What would you recommend as a simple reply?

GADGET-FREE

"I'm not preaching to you to unplug, because that's your business. My choices are my business. Deal?"

Anyone who pushes further needs to be ignored. "I'm changing the subject now" works well for that, as does not judging them for, ahem, being "wired to the world 24/7" and "from every spot on the earth." That phrasing and your quotation marks around "text" suggest you put on a bit of a lemon-sucking face, and if you do, that's not helping your cause.

Re: Cellphones: I certainly respect people's desire to unplug. But I find those who don't have cellphones are being amazingly selfish. When they are lost or running late, it's always "Oh, you know I don't have a cellphone." I understand people survived without them, but I have to say, I've slowly cut a few otherwise lovely friends out of my life. And I say this as a punctual person who never checks my cellphone, except when needed.

ANONYMOUS

Wait - you "respect" something "amazingly selfish"?

And isn't it selfish to want everyone to do things your way because you find their way inconvenient for you? And what if the refusal is a budget necessity? I could keep going this way, but, in the end, it's not about the "what" (cellphone), it's about the "why."

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