Being the high-tech trendsetter I am, I joined the rest of the world and bought my first smart-phone last week. I know, I know, impressive, huh?
I’m not sure why I bought it, considering I spend almost all my time at home and hardly ever answer our home phone when it rings on those rare occasions.
When Jimmy Buffett wrote the song; “If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me,” he wrote it with your’s truly in mind. My phone keeps very busy not ringing when my friends and family don’t call. It’s a gift.
My wife and I have been satisfied Comcast/Xfinity customers for years. When she switched her cell phone service to Xfinity Mobile and got her cool, smartphone, I was jealous. And, a little troubled that I couldn’t help her figure out the phone’s many features.
So, I broke my six-year cell phone celibacy, signed up with Xfinity Mobile and bought the same phone. My last cell phone was six years ago, a simple flip-phone. It did what phones were meant to do… make and receive calls.
Why the six-year cell phone celibacy, you ask? Here’s why. Since moving to the mountains back in 1998 we have lived where cell phone coverage thrives like a light in a black hole. Back when “can you hear me now?” Paul was doing his commercials for Verizon, I was so wishing that the little geek would come visit me. I would drag him around by his eyebrows and let him ask, “can you hear me now?” where I live and travel.
You think I am exaggerating? One time I drove up near Donner Summit, a few miles from highway 80. I was looking for firewood and followed a logging road to the top of a mountain. From there I could see half of California. When I tried to call my wife to describe the amazing view, guess what? No coverage!
NO COVERAGE?! Seriously? I could have sent a smoke signal visible for a hundred miles, but my high-tech cell phone was as useless as a screen door on a submarine. Thus began my love-hate relationship with cell phones.
For six years we rented a house within sight of where we live now. In that house, we had to go out to the street to use our cell phones. We’ve improved things now, in the home we bought last May. Now, we only have to walk out on the porch to call. People tell us there is a lot of static when we call in the winter, but it’s only our teeth chattering.
Well, I get that fancy new smartphone and guess what? Right away my love affair with Murphy’s Law kicks in. I tried to set up the phone only to discover it doesn’t work.
Tech-support surmises that my SIM card is bad after I explain that I can’t follow their troubleshooting suggestion because, “hello, the phone doesn’t work, dude. So, no I am not hanging up my home phone to try your tricks!”
A few days later, a small padded envelope arrives. Inside it a small box containing a real small plastic looking square about the size of a deer turd, (for those of you who don’t live in the country, that is as small as a contact lens, it just doesn’t sound as quaint).
The new SIM card works and I am now an official smartphone user. I was thrilled to find out that even though I couldn’t make calls from home, I could use the Internet since we have a home WIFI network with Xfinity.
About a week later, after I have lots of fun playing with the many features of the phone, I get the chance to test it out. Since I had to drive about thirty miles for my doctor’s appointment at the VA clinic, I gather up my phone and the Blue-tooth headset and hit the road.
I’m on the freeway, and I tell the phone to call home… nothing. The headset is dead as a doornail. Turns out that the microscopic indicator light should have told me it wasn’t turned off after I charged it. In what universe is an indicator light worth a crap when it is too damned small to see?
I tossed the headset onto the passenger seat and tried again with just the phone.
“Call home”… nothing again. “Whatkindoffuckingsmatphoneisthis?” An image of Star Trek’s Scotty trying to talk to a twentieth-century computer mouse comes to mind.
Defeated, I lay the phone on the seat. I’ll just wait for my wife to call me.
Then it hits me. I don’t even know how to answer the $#%^ing thing, and if I managed to answer, it would be my usual luck that a cop would see me fumbling the phone and award me for my cell phone skills with a nice invitation to pay the state a few hundred dollars.
Turns out this high-tech marvel can’t do voice dialing, like my simple old flip-phone. Now I have to figure out how to download and install an app that lets me do that. “Can’t wait for that adventure to smack me upside the head!”
I will end this “post of perpetual perplexity” with a philosophical question.
Are they called smartphones because of their capabilities, or is it a suggested minimum user qualification?