Cell Phone, Schmell Phone!

Sprint pissed me off. So i fired them. By the next day, i was a swarm of regret as i realized my anger made me rash. But weeks later, i am seeing benefits that i never expected. Kind of like getting lost in the woods and stumbling across a fully loaded blackberry bush. Or being stuck at home alone on a Saturday night and finding there’s a Firefly marathon on free stream. It’s strange how life works sometimes.

My old phone was an iPhone. It was WAY more than what i wanted, but hey, they made it sound essentially free, since the cost was amortized into my monthly bill. All i had to do was keep insurance on it, which also sounded like a good deal. I mean, it covered EVERYTHING! If i dropped it off a park bench and it got chomped by a duck, even… It was covered. I’m a clumsy sort, and on a tight budget to boot, so it seemed like this whole thing was made just for me.

Fast forward 2 years. My contract is finally up, but i am still keeping on the plan. I’ve grown used to it. And my phone. I can do damned near anything except sort my laundry on this phone. It alerts me to everything short of Brangelina’s next adoption. I have shopping apps, crochet apps, cooking apps, coupon apps, quote apps, driving apps, music apps, fashion apps, meditation apps, translation apps, diagnoses apps, and puzzle apps. But the phone was old in techno-years. It was getting slower. It ran hotter. And it developed a frustrating habit of stopping processes before i was finished. I knew it was only a matter of time.

One afternoon, i was trying to post on social media. After half a dozen tries resulting in “Oops! There appears to be a problem connecting” messages, my phone accidentally, but somehow forcefully, flew out of my hands, across the room, and into  a door jamb, where it suffered a rather profound joint fracture.  I picked it up in horror, gathered the little plastic eyeball thing-y that my phone had vomited upon impact, and cursed my bad temper. Thank God for insurance.

The next day, i bring my phone to the Sprint store. I wait the obligatory hour to be seen. The girl at the counter tells me she is pretty sure there is no resurrecting my phone, but they can try. I will just have to pay the copay. But what about a replacement, she asks? Good news! My insurance covers replacement. So she tells me what my choices are for replacement. I tell her i will take whatever is free. She tells me all the ones i’ve selected are free. Again, i just have to pay the copay.

“How much is that?”

“$200.”

“Wait?!?! What?!?!? That isn’t free! How about we just try to repair it?”

“Ok. That is $200.”

“WHAT?!?!?! ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT I’VE BEEN PAYING INSURANCE TO YOU PEOPLE FOR TWO YEARS, AND I STILL GET CHARGED $200 FOR IT TO BE FIXED?”

“Yes, Ma’am. It would be $600 without the insurance.”

“Um, i know you have no control over this policy. And i appreciate your time. But since my contract is up, i am done here. I’d like to cancel my account.”

“Oh, we can’t do that here. You have to do that online.”

(At this point, i am afraid of what will come out of my mouth. I know it isn’t the clerk’s fault, and i don’t want to take it out on her, so i just nod my head and leave.)

On my way home, i stop at Walmart and get a StraightTalk phone. I pick one that will do what i need and won’t break my bank. Then i return home and sign up for service. The first thing i notice is that i have cut my phone bill nearly in half. The second thing i notice is that my phone is a real pain in the ass to operate. It has none of the frillies that i had grown accustomed to. There is no voice-to-text. I can’t set individual text tones. The keyboard is set up a bit differently. The screen isn’t quite as big. The battery doesn’t last nearly as long. And the camera picture quality is on par with one made by a toy company.

Well, shit.

I think long and hard on this. Make a plus-and-minus sheet which comes to the conclusion that i can swallow my pride and go back to the frillies, or i can save money, make do, and maybe upgrade later to a better phone. Since i’ve never developed a taste for my pride, i opted to stick it out with the lame phone.

Fast forward to now. I still don’t like typing on this phone. As a result, i spend far less time on my phone than i have in years. I am reading more. (Oh, how i love an actual paper-and-print book!) I am doing more around the apartment. And i made 29 Christmas gifts this year. 29! Hours and hours of crochet. Granted, most were not big things, but still! What an accomplishment for me!  I believe whole-heartedly that, had i opted to stay with the fancy phone, i’d have spent a lot of my time playing with it instead of creating things for myself and others.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when i can’t make this phone behave, and it has come perilously close to being accidentally on-purpose sent to the same fate as its predecessor. After all, there is no way to sync your temper to your old phone. But i am getting more and more used to the way it used to be. You know, before my phone did everything but make breakfast. And i am happy that i am getting more done. Happy that i am not as tempted to text while driving (Because there is no flipping voice-to-text). Happy that i’m saving a chunk of cash on monthly service. In general, just happier.

I still spend too much time on technology. But i suppose we’ve all gotten into the habit of using our tech to excess. I am far from a Luddite, but i am glad to be on my way to a better balance. Less interface, more face-to-face. Less Words With Friends, more chess with my son. Spend some time making all those projects i pin on Pinterest. Maybe even visit some of those places i visit on Wikipedia.

Then, afterwards, i can log on and have some REALLY good stuff to write about on here.

 

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