You know how some people talk endlessly about their grandkids? How they are the smartest, the cutest, the most popular, the best behaved, and every other superlative in the book? You know how you get tired — really tired — of those stories? How even the kindest among you is just praying for another topic of conversation? That is exactly how you are going to feel about my new phone within the next couple of months.
I am one of those annoying people who don’t believe anything until it has been irrevocably, irredeemably, and irreversibly proved to me. Then I embrace the notion as though I invented it.
Texting? We don’t need no stinking texting. How great could it possibly be? Just call whoever you want to communicate with. Texting? Why, when I was your age we didn’t text. We walked ten miles to school in two feet of snow, uphill both ways. If it was good enough for Alexander Graham Bell, it’s good enough for us. You get the idea. Then I actually started texting although “texting” is probably too sophisticated a word for what was going on.
My device was a 10-year-old flip phone relic on which I had to hit “2” three times to get a “c” and “7” four times to get an “s.” It did get the job done, eventually, but if I were in a four-way text conversation with friends I was always three conversations behind.
So off I went to the phone store. It is called “The Phone Store” because “House of Angst” takes up too much space in the Yellow Pages. The phone store is staffed by people who are much younger than most of your shoes. Obviously, however, they have been well-trained in geezer-talk. Mostly. One young woman was explaining my options and my contracts and the very short time in which I could expect to run out of data. Whatever data is. The prospect of running out of it seemed to horrify her and she made the exaggerated shocked face (as in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”) to make sure I grasped the severity of the situation. Then she casually mentioned her phone bill was somewhere north of two hundred twenty dollars a month which left me with the shocked face. No exaggeration needed. At this point my eyes glazed over and I went into some sort of shock induced by an overdose of disbelief.
I thought I knew what phone I wanted but we low-tech folk frequently seek out reassurances on our soon-to-be-obsolete choices. Luckily, there was a certified phone expert in the store. After asking permission from her father, I borrowed a thirteen-year-old girl. She explained almost all the workings of my phone in about ten minutes and she didn’t roll her eyes at me once.
With the kid’s grudging approval, I bought the phone at which point everything I thought I knew about it ceased working. My phone and I became quite well-traveled. We would pack up and go back to the store with a list of dumb questions in our pocket. If there is anything more humiliating than throwing yourself on the mercy of someone not born in this century I don’t know what it would be.
With exceptional patience and with a voice used to talk to very slow second-graders, the phone person would explain away my latest issues. Their most difficult task was to hold back from blurting out “Why did you buy such a piece of junk phone?” They never did come out and ask that but I could tell they were real close. After the fourth trip, an incredibly nice man outlined that I couldn’t download a picture because seventy-one percent of the memory on my phone was taken up by my phone running itself. This is a pyramid scheme if I ever heard of one.
It appears my three-week-old phone has one more trip to make. This will be to the next phone store where I trade it in and hope it has enough ooommpphhh left to transfer its measly store of info to its replacement.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.