Well, it’s official. I have dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century at long last. The dreaded surrender came in the form of my first smart phone and it is making me feel stupider by the minute. Will somebody please tell me they feel my pain?
I knew it was time to bite the bullet when I registered for an upcoming writers’ conference in Nashville. Filling out the registration details, it became apparent that I would be left in the dust without a phone. And I’d need time to get used to the dumb thing before venturing so many miles from my trusty land line. Besides, it seems the only way to reach our kids these days is by text. Which makes me question how excited they’ll feel about my having a phone, but whatever.
Actually walking into the store was the first major hurdle. The phones on display all looked basically the same, but the prices varied for reasons even the sales people didn’t seem to know. It mattered little, since most of them came “free” with a two-year contract. In one store, an old fashioned bright red pay phone hung on the wall, with a rotary dial and everything. I felt tempted to say, “I’ll take that one, please.” At least I’d know how to use it!
Then we were introduced to the various options for service packages. What did I require? Voicemail Light? Unlimited text, picture, video messaging? Unlimited Wi-fi? How many weekday calling minutes? How much data? 300 MG? 5 GB with tethering? Pollés pliroforíes, it’s all Greek to me.
I wanted to cry.
Luckily, my computer geek hubby was along to interpret. At least he knew a few semi-intelligent questions to ask. We settled on a phone and a price package. While helping me set it up, the sales guy chuckled watching me bumble around to key in a password and hitting the wrong letters or losing the keyboard altogether. Why can’t I be like the average five-year-old and instinctively know exactly how to use the blasted thing? And why can’t I look like one of the cool kids when I do? Utterly humiliated, I carried the little joy-stealer home, wondering if the guys in the store would immediately dial my new number simply for the glee of watching me try to figure out how to answer my own phone.
Over supper, I calculated that I have three months to learn how to use the little tyrant before my conference. Hubby sucked air between his teeth. “That’s cuttin’ it pretty tight.”
I spent the evening putting the kids’ numbers into my contact list and sent them each a text. This took me a good hour as I fumbled around, trying to turn it on, keep it on, and figure out how to navigate. Mission accomplished, I plugged it in to charge and forgot it existed.
When I stumbled to my desk the next morning and saw it lying there, my first thought should have been, “Oh, right! Yay, I have a cell phone.” Instead, it was more like, “Oh. Right. Darn.”
Through the morning, I found myself growing more annoyed at the whole world as my phone chirped and whistled, demanding my attention while I baked a rhubarb pie, mixed a batch of granola, and folded laundry—things I actually know how to do. Why had I invited this miniature terrorist into my life? If I knew how to change the ringtone, I’d pick the theme song from Just Shoot Me.
Then I received a text from my daughter in Calgary, with an attached video of our 7-month old grandson in a full-on gigglefest.
And for the first time, my smart new phone made me smile.