Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Welcome to the 21st Century

I catch a lot of hell over my old cell phone.

For about a year, I have been torn between being ashamed of it and not even wanting to let people see it, to whipping it out with pride because it shows that I am no slave to modern cellular telephonic technology. It's an older (quite a bit older) boxy Nokia with a screen not much bigger than a quarter. It makes and receives calls (when I bother to keep it charged, anyway) and if I am really diligent, I can send texts (it has no keyboard, so I have to text in the new old-fashioned way.)

But it's not the type of phone that all my friends and colleagues and even my own mother carry. It has no camera or videocamera and it doesn't flip open into a keyboard and it doesn't have fun ringtones (I was thrilled when I first got it and bought an "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" ringtone that sounded like an 8-year-old was playing it on a toy keyboard.) I'm mostly okay with that; as Jason will happily tell anyone who listens, this phone of mine, which I procured to carry around for emergencies and the possibility of car accidents, is seldom charged and therefore much less of an emergency cellphone and much more of an emergency paperweight.

Friends ask me, "Hey, what's your cellphone number? I'm updating my contacts." And I have to think long and hard about what my number is, usually giving them Jason's digits first before I realize my mistake. When they look at me weird, I pull out my ancient, un-cool phone.

"Good Lord," the friend sometimes says. "Look at that thing."

"But it has a light on it!" And I show them my phone's coolest feature: a little stick-on LED cellphone flashlight I "won" for helping Ainsley sell something or other at school in kindergarten.

So, yeah, I don't really get into phones.

At least, I didn't used to. But after a good friend got a smart phone, and my sister got an i-Phone, and the whole world it seems is operating on the notion that we must be reachable every single second of every single day, I've been hit by an itch for a new phone.

This goes against my nature because I am seriously annoyed by cell phones. I hate it when people are on their phones in the grocery store, the shopping mall, meetings, restaurants, etc. I think it sends a serious air of, "I am just so gosh-darned important that not only can this call about what my cat was doing yesterday NOT WAIT, but the whole public arena I'm in must hear it as well!" I have no problem with people who must be on their phones frequently in public because it's an essential part of their job. But if you're discussing your upcoming hemorrhoid surgery on the phone at the table next to me while I am trying to enjoy some french toast on a Saturday morning at First Watch, or you have to text at the table while everyone around you is trying to engage you in conversation, well, then, I think you're a douchebag.

But peer pressure is strong, and last week when Jason's just-as-old-but-infinitely-cooler phone began acting up, I lobbied for a new phone for myself, too.

"Can I can I can I please please pleeeeeeze...." I said, doing my best Ainsley impersonation.

"Why do you need a new phone?" he said, doing his best "Dad" impersonation. "The one you have is never charged."


But lo and behold, we found a plan where we could both get new phones (not smart phones, but smarter than our old ones) and a new plan for cheaper than we were currently paying. Oh, joy!

So now I have this new phone. And I get why people like cell phones, at least initially: they are really, really fun toys.

Because if you want to get right down to it that's the only thing that separates my former dinosaur phone from this pretty new red one. It's no lighter and not much thinner than the relic I was carrying, so it doesn't gain points there. But it has so many features that I've been a little overwhelmed in a good way. It does have a camera (still don't know why that has to be on every phone now, but it did come in handy the other night when Ainsley was doing something cute and my real camera wasn't on my person). I got some really cool musical ringtones that I can customize: a Dave Matthews Band song for when Jason calls, "Coal Miner's Daughter" for when my mom calls, and a little Glee for everyone else. The screen is big enough that I can put a wallpaper on there to further enhance my phone-using experience (I'm going back and forth between Phineas and Ferb and the UK logo). I've had lots of fun personalizing it. It's a great little toy. I can see why people and their phones are literally attached at the hip.

And yet the one time this week that Jason did need to reach me on it, that it needed to be a device which makes and receives calls and nothing else, it was (you guessed it) sitting in my purse with a dead battery.

But the darn thing sure is pretty.

I have promised to be a better cell phone user and keep it charged. After all, my new ringtones won't be very fun if I never get to hear them. And yet a part of me doesn't want to go down that road. If I start encouraging people to reach me on it so that I occasionally have that joy of, "Oooh, I hear 'Defying Gravity'! Someone loves me and must really need to talk to me RIGHT NOW!", I also have to deal with people calling me when I'm at the grocery store, or in a restaurant, or in a movie theater even though I was pretty sure I put it on vibrate, and then I'll become a douchebag. It's a treacherous path.

Ooh, gotta go. My phone's playing my song.

1 comment:

dross said...

Hooray for Cranky! Yes, I'm the other one who carries around the unglamorous cell phone with a perpetually dead battery.

I too got a new phone recently. I walked into the AT&T store and told the guy to show me The Grandma Phone. The one that's not even on display -- that's designed for the little old lady who can't figure out how to work a phone. Because that's me. I told him the only things I want it to do are hold a charge for a year and a half after you plug it in the wall one time and pick up a signal on the dark side of the moon.

And where is it now? At the bottom of my purse with a dead battery because I lost the car charger. I can never remember to bring the phone inside the house where the wall charger is.
Years ago, I used to bring my purse in the house in the evenings. One Saturday, Meg painted her face and our entire stair carpet with a lipstick palette. I decided the only sensible thing to do was to leave the purse in the car when I'm not at work.

But ah, the phone - it's a nice shiny color that approximates UK blue. And I don't have a Paducah phone number anymore. Not that you can reach me on the number I do have.