Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stupid cell phone

Yesterday, we took a bold step. We got cell phones. Again.

I hate cell phones. Mine keeps signaling for a left turn. I can't make it stop.

(We are not alone. Click here.)

Discovery: AT&T phones are free if you order through customer service over the telephone. At least I think they are. All the options confuse me. I miss pay phones. Do they even make nickels anymore?

Repeatedly, we told the chirp on the other end of the line that we wanted the dumbest phone they make. No bells, no whistles. A child’s phone would do nicely, thank you. Oh yes, we want the ring tone to sound line a phone ringing. Let's not even talk about evenings and holidays. Anything after 9 p.m. is wasted on me.

Poppycock, said the chirp under her breath. You need the good phone. You might want to book a cruise and text the captain to wait up whilst you have one more Cuba Libre onshore. Note: the authentic Cuba Libre is made with Royal Crown. And -- is text now a verb?

I hate cruise ships, too. And she didn’t really say poppycock.

Back to yesterday. Of course, we caved and got the “really good deal.”

When the phones arrived the next day, we blurred through the User Guide. It was thick. Way too thick. I read the instructions twice before I discovered half the book was written in Spanish. I think I discovered the genesis of “Press One for English.”

What’s wrong with simplified eye-cons? A simple “ON” button would suffice. But noooo. We had to suffer the whims of adolescent designers who wouldn’t know a bifocal if their granny was wearing one. Tiny little buttons that make no sense to anyone who is old enough to know Truman’s daughter played a poor piano.

You can see where this is going.

Well, half a bottle of wine later, we did manage to light up the display screen, find the smart key, talk to the help desk, and turn the ****@####!!! machine on.

Warning: don’t leave a message on my cell. If you call me, be prepared to call twice. I rarely find the phone in time during your first call. Second warning: don't leave a message. I don’t know how to retrieve messages.

The Mystery Woman has a solution. She says we’re not giving anybody our cell phone number. Problem solved.


Ken Martin said...

George, you're a living example of something Alvin Toffler predicted in his 1970 opus, "Future Shock." He talked about the fact that technology would change, that the rate of change would keep increasing, and that at some point people would start opting out of the new technology.

I'm completely sympathetic to your plight. It wasn't till I opted for an iPhone, which works more or less like my Apple iMac, that I've been able to figure out how it works and get the results I want.

The morale of the story: You should've sprung for an iPhone.

Or, alternatively, if you wanted the simplest possible phone you should've got that sucker they're always advertising in the AARP magazine (of course I know how much you love the AARP, so you needn't go there in rebuttal).

The South Plainsman said...

A couple of years ago I replaced my old cell phone (because I had left the old one outside, and it had actually rained that night!). Try as I might, I could not find one that was just a phone. All of them have all those other gadgets to deal with. Fortunately, since I retired, I hardly ever use the darn thing.

Also bought a new HDTV. And have a cable connection. Now that is the sort of thing that requires a teenager in the house!

Now I am not a technophobe...I bought my first computer in 1980 (Apple II) and even learned to program in Basic. I built me a 486 computer from parts I scrounged up in later years. But some of these gadgets are unfathomable to me. And I refuse to take the time any more to deal with them.

Anonymous said...

All I asked for in a cell phone is one that I can say hello" "goodbye". I got it!!
I once said that I was glad that they didn't make toys smarter than I was when I was kid.----------Then I remembered that I had Lincoln Logs------------Goose

Anonymous said...

I consider myself as perhaps the most high-tech person that reads this blog. For the first time, I agree with the author, and all of the comments that have been written to date. I would even be glad to have an old analog phone with no options.I took a picture the other day by accident with my phone and it ended up on my screensaver, or whatever the picture is called. Keep up the good work Gige.

Anonymous said...

If you're not going to give me the number at which I can bug you, why the hell should I care that you got a
cell phone at all? Kinch

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