My Blackberry went into a desk drawer today, deactivated, never to vibrate on my hip again. In its place is an old-fashioned wireless phone, the kind that flips open, has a normal dialing pad and doesn’t get email instantly or alert me when war has broken out in some far-off part of the world.

I’ve carried a Blackberry since 2000. For those who don’t know, a Blackberry is a wireless email device that receives and sends email in real time. That meant whenever you sent me an email, the Blackberry on my belt vibrated and I stopped whatever I was doing to check and see what’s up. Then I usually typed out a reply on the small keyboard and send it back wireless, all in real time.

There was a time when I thought such instant communication was not only handy but necessary. And perhaps in the days when I was on call 24/7 and had to be ready to jet off to some far-off locale or catch up with some news event, such communication was necessary.

My first Blackberry just received and sent emails but later models included a phone but using a Blackberry as a phone was cumbersome at best. Verizon’s latest model worked just about anywhere, including the Washington subway. No place was safe from the intrustion of instant email.

No more. The contract with Verizon ran out and the new cell, email-less cell phone arrived today. From now on, I refuse to be a slave to the vibration. Whatever crisis is threatening the world today or tomorrow can go on without my journalistic intervention. I’ll check email on my own timetable. Those who need me right away have my cell phone number and can call. Thanks to caller ID, I can choose whether to answer or let voice mail take the call.

Freedom’s just another word for another email to miss.