When my daughter was nearing the end of her high school career and had a Senior Day Off, we did a mother-daughter thing. We got our ears pierced. She had held out for 18 years, and I had held out for, um, longer than that. We went to Claire’s and perched on high-top chairs facing each other, hugged teddy bears and waited for the big staple gun to power through our lobes. It’s how memories are made.

I never really wanted to get my ears pierced. I didn’t see a need to have any more holes in my body. And I probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise, but piercing in tandem with your daughter is one of those rare opportunities that you don’t pass up — like when your son asks you to go shopping with him, or your husband wants to schedule a sitting for a family photo.

Aside from the unwanted extra orifices, my biggest aversion to the whole piercing process was the fact that I knew that once I did it, there would be earrings. I would start buying earrings, and people would give me earrings for birthdays and Christmas and Mother’s Day, and I would begin to like that. I would learn to linger at the jewelry counter over a selection of dangling objects that never interested me before. It would just be another way to spend 30 bucks a pop. It would be unavoidable.

That’s essentially the same reason that I didn’t want an iPhone. I knew that once I entered the world of smartThings, I would be opening a floodgate to a constant river of distractions and apps for distractions. And there would be no turning back.

I had a phone I was happy with, much to the chagrin of anyone who tried to communicate with me on it. It was like a 1992 Subaru. It was reliable, yet old and outdated and not much coveted. It had a warped keypad that I used occasionally to text “k” and “here,” and nothing more. But I could drop it roughly 42 times a day (and I did), then literally pick up the pieces, slam them back into place, and redial.

It was a 10-year-old Nokia, and it didn’t do much of anything but make calls. It didn’t give me directions, get my emails, take pictures or answer any burning questions I had about Bastille Day. It didn’t even “flip” or “slide.” It just sat there, easily, in my back pocket with its indestructible self, giving me a serendipitous jolt whenever someone buzzed me with a phone call.

But as it creaked on in its years and lost parts through my constant dropping of it, it also slowly lost its ability to function, even as a phone. And I eventually had to admit that no one could hear on it very well, not even me.

So a few years ago, when my husband presented me with a snazzy new iPhone4S (because I wasn’t worthy of a 5) complete with the promise of a new service provider, I laid my trusty Nokia to rest in my bedside table and entered the world of Distracted Adults.

Sure enough, now I’m playing with Pandora when I should be working. I’m checking emails while I’m supposedly exercising. And I’ve joined my peers in relentless texting. We’re all like a bunch of delinquents who are passing notes in class.

Texts come in while I’m brushing my teeth or paying bills or making dinner, and like a passel of whining children who are yanking at my legs, they beg for attention. I’ll glance at my screen and find a pressing question or an irresistible Bitmoji staring back at me, so I stop what I’m doing to text back — taking the time to correct the self-correct and choose just the right emoji — and a flurry of exchanges ensues that completely spins me off task. For all of our “live in the moment” advocacy, the smartphone is the ultimate antithesis.

I’ve devised a system though, a type of positive reinforcement designed to limit myself from the tantalizing distractions that this device provides: If I can go through an entire day without messing with my phone while working or cooking or eating or exercising … I’ll buy myself a new pair of earrings.

Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at robinjm@earthlink.net.

Robin Conte

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her new column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.