I have been upgraded.
I’ve had an old flip-phone for the last few years. I don’t remember how long, really. At least since 2010, since that’s where all of the entries in my Contacts list came from. If you called me in the summer of 2010, I have your number. Of course few of those numbers remain the same anymore, and at least one person on that list passed away years ago. So it’s been a while.
But the phone did everything I wanted a cell phone to do, such as:
1) Make and receive phone calls.
Other than that, I really didn’t need it to do anything. I already had a camera. I can waste hours surfing the internet at home on my desktop computer. I have no interest in paying for things by swiping my phone at a gizmo, given the inherent security risks of such things. I was good.
Except that my family insists that I text.
Texting with a flip-phone is kind of like writing a book by carving words into granite blocks with a chisel. It can be done, but it’s not really convenient. Nevertheless, texting is the only way most people use their phones anymore, so I was forced to comply.
It’s utterly astonishing how ten or fifteen text messages spaced out over a quarter hour can often save you the inconvenience and bother of a two-minute phone call. Such is progress.
Recently it was decided that I needed a new phone, one that would do everything up to and including land the space shuttle, and also text. Phone calls optional. So sometime this summer, one came in the mail.
Except that I still had a lot of money left on my flip-phone. I had one of those plans where you stock it up with money every so often and they charge you an exorbitant fee every time you use it – in my case, twenty cents/minute for both incoming and outgoing calls, and about that much for each text. I usually went through about $40 a year, which should give you some idea of how useful cell phones are to me.
Having just re-upped, we figured I should burn some of that off before I switched over.
And now it’s November, and the switch has been made. I’m sure my old phone company is thrilled, since they stopped offering my plan sometime in 2012 and have had to carry me along as a grandfathered-in customer ever since.
On the plus side, it’s a nice phone as these things go. It seems to make phone calls most of the time, though not all of the time – I still haven’t figured out what the dividing line is. And it has room for a micro-SD card, so now it has more memory than I do. And it is a whole lot easier to type on the thing, on the off chance that I actually did manage to send a text message this morning.
On the other hand, it’s not really a phone. It’s a small computer that, if you insist, will grudgingly make phone calls for you. It has a user manual that I downloaded (onto my desktop – no way was I going to try to download it onto the very phone I needed the manual to figure out) that runs to about a hundred pages, more or less. If I printed it out it would probably weigh more than the phone, though I’m not sure about that – flip-phones are very light, but this new one feels like it weighs more than my head. And it’s big, which means I have to figure out how to carry it. I can’t just slip it in my pocket with my car keys the way Paul Simon taught me to do with my flip-phone. That’s already meant missing texts that were headed my way and landed on my desk at home.
Those things I can figure out, given time. I’m not worried about those, really.
What bothers me is that it is anchored in the Google world and therefore wants me to make use of all these Google products that I have no use for. It wants my Google+ information, for example. I have no idea why. I don’t even want my Google+ information. I got an account about four years ago when Facebook did one of its periodic “let’s annoy the hell out of all our users in an attempt to monetize this turkey” moves, but have never actually figured out how it works. There’s something about circles in circles, wheels in wheels, and that’s just too much like real life for me. It also wants me to have a Gmail account, which I steadfastly refuse to do just because Gmail irritates me.
Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick, folks, all I want to do is make phone calls and, under duress, text to my family. I neither need nor desire to be further immersed in the Googleplex.
But here it is. The number has been ported over. The old phone is dead. It’s time to figure out how this works or doesn’t.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, now you know.