Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Smart Phone - Dumb Owner

Smug smart phone

As with every year, 2014 holds a number of dates to anticipate. There are the usual birthdays, anniversaries, national holidays, religious observations, election days, and so forth. However, there is one very special, eagerly anticipated day in 2014 that I am most anxious to see arrive: the day my cell phone contract expires.

I have a “smart” phone. I never set out to own a phone smarter than myself, but was bullied into it by my kids. It was a conspiracy on their part, most likely hatched when they were together and ran through a list of, “Remember when Dad made us…” The bitterness of the child grows into the devious revenge of the adult. 

I was happy with my old cell phone. I could do things with my old cell phone. Glorious things. I could communicate with people. But somewhere, somehow, communication became a very low tick mark on the list of necessary cell phone functions, falling well below playing music, wandering the web, bombing pigs with birds and spamming pictures of private parts. Being a technological troglodyte, and having been happy with a basic cell phone for years, I was totally unaware of just how far down the functionality list simply talking on a phone had fallen.

With enticing promises such as, “It will change your life,” Mrs. Poynor and I were led to one of the local purveyors of poor communication. In order to get the best deal possible (i.e. a free, top-end smart phone) it was necessary to sign a contract for two years. It was a simple matter of promising we would use their service exclusively during that time, or give them a kidney of their choice - possibly both. 

Once home, the folly of our move up the technology ladder became apparent. Shortly after setting up the phones on the Wi-Fi at home and making a few laps around the internet, I attempted my first call. That moment was an epiphany. I could take pictures, play games, surf the web, get on social media, do my taxes, hack into overseas computer systems, navigate in the wilds and transmit coordinates, read books and all other manner of stuff, but could I make a call at my own house? No.

Guess which one gets better reception at our house
After dialing, cell phone calls at our house go something like this: “Ssskritch… buzz… body… ere?”

Me: “Hello? Hello? Hello?”

It isn’t always that bad. If we stand out in the driveway, and it’s clear, and the sun isn’t low in the horizon, and we face northeast, ten seconds of quality conversation can usually be had before the call is dropped. If all else fails, we can text, provided the above conditions are met and less than twenty characters are involved.

We can receive calls, which is handy. Generally we aren’t fast enough to dash out the front door to answer them, but the calling number is displayed so we can call back on the land line. 

The smart phone’s durability and size have not done much to endear it to me, either. The warning flag about durability should have been obvious when what amounted to an insurance policy was offered.

FRAGILE! Get life insurance!

“May I suggest you get the two year insurance?”


“You know, coverage in case the worst happens, like the screen breaks.” 

“What other unfortunate situations are covered?” 

“Well, if you uh… you know drop it and the screen breaks, or if… Nope. That just about  covers it. At least get a protective case to keep the screen from breaking.” 

In essence what I got was a cell phone the size and delicacy of a bone china salad plate. For safety’s sake (and lack of insurance), the phone stays in the truck when I’m out doing anything more physical than grocery shopping. That is a far cry from my old “stupid” phone. That thing was small enough and tough enough to have been used for a hockey puck. The old cell once fell out of my pocket while I was cleaning a mess of salmon. It bounced off the walkway and dropped into a pile of fish guts. Aside from the need to hold it at arm’s length to avoid the stench afterwards, no ill effects were encountered. 

And that’s the crux of my smart phone: it stinks, and without the benefit of filets.

Shameless plug: If you click on one of the book icons, you will go to the Goodreads site where you can get additional laughs by reading a preview of the book by clicking on the Amazon button. 

No comments:

Post a Comment