12 March 2008

Cell Phone Follies

It's come down to this. I really should get a new cell phone. Mine is going on four years old, an antique in the technology world. Up to date cell phones can serve as a backup to my iPod, show pictures of who's calling, keep my ever-rotating schedule in line, among other tricks. Another sign it may be time? I went to charge the phone last night, and the little metal plate in the base the charger slides into just fell out. I jury-rigged it to work, but how many more nights can I fiddle with the connection, wrap the cord around my clock radio, and hope for the best? Not too many, I'm thinking.

My kids are gleeful, ecstatic at the idea of their mother having a phone that's more than one step up from a tin can and string. So far they've decided I need a Chocolate, a Razr, a Blackberry…

I mentioned getting an iPhone, and their eyes bugged out. Until I told them, in properly sober tones, that we don't have a service provider up here for an iPhone. "But… but… you could hack it!" youngest child proclaims. "Unlock it."

He overestimates my geekosity. And my willingness to part with $500 for a phone, unless it comes with an espresso machine built around it.

I read the specs on the latest phones and my brain reels. MP3 player, video recording, Bluetooth, camera, web surfing, GPS… Much as I would love to have an iPhone, with a touch screen, I know inevitably I would touch the wrong thing, and end up sending my contact list to Canberra, my pictures to Saskatchewan. Why would I need GPS? I live in Nowhere, Wyoming. I always know where I am. 76 miles from the nearest bathroom. I'd try to find out where I need to meet a client, and the GPS would send me down some dirt road alongside the Powder River, where I'd lose service, and have only the sheep to talk to as I wait for a tow truck I can't reach on my 'No Service in This Area' cell phone, and watch vultures laughing from the fenceposts. If Alltel forces me to eat the emergency MRE's I keep in the trunk, I'm gonna be pissed.

After all, I am, at heart, a klutz. Attempt to take a picture, and suddenly Bon Jovi begins blaring to everyone within a five block radius, I punch buttons, and snap a nifty image of my shoe.

I just want to be able to be able to answer the phone when a child calls (and I get to mediate).

"Mom, can you pick me up at the Rec Center?"

"Why can't your brother pick you up? It's on his way home."

"He won't answer his phone when I call him."

"Okay, hang on…" *put son two on hold and call son one* "Pick up your brother at the Rec Center on your way home."


"Because I said so, not to mention I bought your gas this week."

"Oh. Okay. Tell him to be ready; I'm not waiting for him." *Click, switch teenagers.* "Your brother will pick you up."

"How will I know when he's here? I'm not standing outside waiting for him."

"They have these new things called windows… try looking out one."

"Can't he just text me--?"

An iPhone would be pointless for these types of conversations. So would most phones other than the tin can and string. Of course, I could admit the real reason. Despite my willingness to embrace technology, I'm damn tired of learning new systems. Maybe I am at heart, what Scott Oden calls a Techno-Goober. I just hide it really well. For four years I've plugged my recharger into the little slit at the bottom of my phone. I don't want to play peek-a-boo with a new phone, opening and closing microscopic little doors in an attempt to figure out which tiny opening fits the "Only Works With X Phone" charging cord. I don't want my phone taking it upon itself to go searching the Internet and airwaves for updates to programs I didn't know I had. I don't want the phone telling me to turn left onto Highway 59 to get to my target, when I know damn well making a right then a left is the only sane way to get on that road, through the construction, and to my destination.

The only pictures I have taken on the old phone are of the Corgis (Big surprise), a herd of horses in the pasture, a triple rainbow you can't really see because the phone camera sucks, and of a hailstone the size of my fist. Not exactly Pulitzer Prize material. The kids claim a new phone will be better, easier, faster, fat free. All those high sales things. I can answer multiple calls at one, text quickly, talk more, etc.. I finally found a way to shut them up.

"But… no one ever calls me, except you guys, and your dad. And you know what? I like it that way."

Struck by the horror of someone not wanting to jabber on the phone all day, the oldest mutters, "Social recluse," as he ambles away.

"That's 'Luddite' to you," I remind him.

The youngest blinks a few more times, and finally manages, "Mom, you're so… old," before he wanders off.

"Yeah? Get off my lawn!" I call after him before returning to my study of new cell phones. I've decided wiggling the charger cord and securing it with duct tape will serve me for a while longer. I'll retreat into Techno-gooberdom, and put off making a decision until forced to by the phone gods.

Hey, I just want a phone to work when I turn it on, have good reception, and NOT organize my closest in its spare time. Is that too much to ask?


Gabriele C. said...

You're one step ahead of me. I don't even have a cell phone.

Meghan said...

I think I've heard the iphone isn't a very good PHONE.

I too need a new cell. I used to have an awesome one in Japan that is so advanced it still isn't out in America yet. I can't use it anymore but keep hoping it will pop up in a store one day. Oh well...

Constance said...

C'mon, Gabriele, the Romans would have loved cell phones. *g* And yes, I want to see you write a scene with your time travel Romans on that.

Constance said...

meghan, I wouldn't want the iPhone for a phone, as much as all the other toys. :) I like toys, but I don't want to work at learning my toys. Hence my ineptness at Photoshop and CC3....

Gabriele C. said...

Well, Merlinus may have one.

But not until that headache is gone; I can't write fiction with my head feeling three times the size it is, and full of sticky cotton.

Constance said...

But Gabriele, that's the best time to write fantasy. Or horror. Afterwards, you can claim you don't have a clue where the idea came from. And you won't be lying. :)

First toothache, then headache? You're not having a very good month. Tell the gnomes to bring you Scotch...

Anonymous said...

They have cell phones out now especially for "older" people.

Bigger fonts, easier to read screen and buttons,no distracting extras...just "phone".

I got Dad one.

You won't get any points for cutting edge from the kids,but............

Carla said...

I have the same problem - all the features make my head spin, so I just stick with the old one until it dies.

Constance said...

Anon, I just object to constantly having to relearn which button is contact menu, and which is volume. Things like that. Even when I buy the same brand of phone, everything is cattywhumpus.

Hey, maybe Dad will call me now that he can see the buttons. :)

Constance said...

Carla - I agree! Unfortunately, not being able to charge my cell properly implies impending death...