The irony of there even being a third column about my phone is not lost on me, although I did warn you to brace yourselves for some Major League whining about my lack of high-tech communication devices.
In Phone 1, you were treated to all manner of tales about how my ancient tiny flip phone which cost $4 (this is NOT a typo) became inadequate even to my admittedly modest needs. So I threw myself on the mercy of the teenagers at the phone store and came away with a product eons ahead of what I had. Unfortunately, it was also eons behind of what I discovered I now needed. “Needed” is a funny word. We “need” oxygen. We “need” food and water. We “need” government reform. No one “needs” a new phone. Except me.
In Phone 2, I related that even as far behind the technology curve as I was, it was clear to me my phone was inadequate. I was hoping to upgrade. But, there is the problem. Upgrade to what? Another Android? Sell a kidney and get an iPhone? Obviously, to anyone who knows me even slightly, there is a zero, perhaps less than a zero chance of my paying a thousand bucks for a phone, even a gold-plated, diamond-encrusted one. But I knew my three-week old phone was on borrowed time.
My main topic of conversation with everyone — everyone — friends, sales clerks, grocery store baggers, relatives, perfect strangers, was to ask what kind of phone they have. Because, you see, phones are like opinions; everybody has one. And everybody has an opinion about their phone.
Just to get me a little breathing room and because I had no idea texting was more addicting than heroin, I purchased a plan for my temporary phone that gave me 1,500 minutes of talk and 1,500 texts. Per year. Again, this is not a typo. I, in the depths of my telecommunication naivete, thought 1,500 texts was a lifetime supply. As will come as no surprise to those who actually dwell in the 21st century, 1,500 texts is not a lifetime supply. It is not a year’s supply. If properly and carefully hoarded, 1,500 texts could be a month’s supply.
Just like the very worst sort of junkie, I was back to the store saying, “Gimme more. Gotta have more.” Oh, the store will sell you more. It’s what they do. Just like all pushers. I got a second reprieve, timewise. It is not imbuing the whole process with too much drama that I say I now know how those baddies on death row feel when the governor calls at two minutes until midnight. I loaded up on more texts and a little more talk time. This is just a Band-aid, of course. A delaying tactic. It gave me just a little breathing room until I have to make (cue scary music … da da DA) a decision.
And because my antiquated phone came complete with an antiquated plan, I am also faced with the prospect of finding a new “carrier.” Not since Typhoid Mary was wreaking havoc among the finer houses in New York has the word “carrier” instilled such terror in people. If the folks who sell phones are the minor-player, street-side pushers, the telephone service providers (aka carriers) are the cartel kingpins. You have your big dogs, the AT&Ts and the Verizons. They have stores on every corner. They have slick ads on TV. They scoop each other’s spokepersons and turn them like traitors. Can you hear me now?
I am a frugal person (see note above about $4 phone). My friend Chuck is also frugal. I thought it would behoove me greatly to find out what carrier Chuck uses because Chuck just wants to make phone calls, he doesn’t care how slick the ads are. Chuck’s carrier does not have slick ads. Not too sure they have ads at all. And they sure don’t have a store on every corner. But they do have one in Darke County. This in itself speaks volumes, even if their phones don’t.
In the near future, I am going to take myself to the wilds of western Ohio, breach the county lines and visit the store in Darke County. I do hope I can find the place. My phone doesn’t have Google Maps.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.