My old cell phone died. Not a sudden death, it happened over time, starting with a freezing screen that could only be cured by removing the case, the back, and the battery, then re-assembling. Fortunately, after so many times putting it back together, the case back fell off permanently, making it easier to get to the battery. I had finally gotten used to reading through the cracked screen, but when the phone dialer quit working, and I got the message, “try again later,” I had to declare this antique a goner.
To be fair, I had owned this phone for a long time. The store said my trade-in value was minus five dollars…I had to pay them to dispose of it, like dirty oil in a car. The clerk said he couldn’t believe an analog phone still worked on the new digital networks. He might have been right, because whenever I left my home, I had to pay roaming charges. Some company name Kodak had made the Brownie phone camera. It took decent photos for .5 megapixel, but buying flash bulbs had gotten to be expensive. I could send texts with my phone, but only by using Morse code and tapping on the send button. Too bad none of my friends could unencrypt the message.
After a tearful farewell (who are we kidding, I cheered when he packaged up my Motorola phone and sent it to the Smithsonian), next came the painful process of selecting a replacement.
I looked around the walls of the store. Apparently in 2014, your cell phone options are limitless; not only different manufacturers, but numerous models that slice, dice, blend, and make a mean cappuccino…oh yeah, and you can call people. I found out there are phones the size of tablets (how the hell do you carry them around?), 4G LTE networks, HDTV cameras, more memory than my first computer, an MP3 player, GPS, maps, movies, TV shows, weather, can opener, 1000 games, flashlight, etc…all for the low, low price of a small car.
Okay, I admit it. The technology dazzled me, so I bought a 5S i-phone. I couldn’t wait to surf the Internet at the speed of light, download music, pull up maps in Poland, and ask Siri, “So, what are you wearing.” Now all I have to do is figure out how to turn on the darn thing.
* * *
Rich Allan is the author of the comedy-adventure novel, “Drafted,” and the upcoming political thriller, “Party Favors.”