Tethered

Stephen King, while promoting his novel Cell, referred to mobile phones as the “slave bracelets of the twenty-first century.” His point never resonated with me more than when my Android gave up the ghost 6 weeks before I was eligible for an upgrade.

At the time of the previous phone’s demise, I had work, personal, and writing emails all sending to it, weather apps, Kindle, Nook, and, of course, Angry Birds. I was really flying on Angry Birds when the phone’s touchscreen began its rapid decline into uselessness.

I had to switch to an old phone that kinda had Internet on it, could text, and make phone calls. You know: a phone. Vs a smartphone. Calls and text.

Years ago, when cellphone makers made clumsy attempts at putting the Internet on phones, I used to walk into cellphone stores and said, “I just want to make calls.” I didn’t even want text. In fact, I’ve only been texting regularly for about four years, when I started dating Nita. Naturally, the sales drones ignored me and went into a pitch about how the phone could get email and MySpace and do the dishes, only to hear me say, “I just want something to make phone calls on.”

Now? We don’t have a landline.  And since my Droid died back in January, I’ve been lost using a phone that primarily just makes calls. And the thing is showing its age. It shuts off at random times.

Plus, I listen to audiobooks now on my morning drive. Why? Free radio sucks, and I really don’t feel like shelling out for satellite radio at the moment. Maybe on my next car. And I sure as hell don’t want to listen to AM radio, which has a nasty side-effect of IQ erosion.

Thus began my adventure in getting Verizon to send me a new Android. At first, I jumped online, picked out a phone, ordered it, and told my coworkers to watch out for it while I was on vacation. During vacation, Verizon informed me my free upgrade was on back order. Meanwhile, the ancient phone began shutting down at random times, like while I was calling Nita or simply sitting on the coffee table. We canceled the order. However, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I went to our local Verizon store, hoping to get in and out. Nope. The free upgrades “were out of stock” and the sales drone was determined not to let me leave the store until I upgraded to an iPad as my phone. I suppose the price with rebate would have been cheaper for the phone we finally looked at, but…

“Are you sure I’ll have my rebate back before my phone bill comes in?”

“Is that important? Because I have a quota to make.”

I came home. We tried to order a new one again. I ordered the closest thing I could get to my old Android. Since we canceled the old order, they refused to ship it to my job or Nita’s. “It would be more secure to ship it to your home.”

You know. Where no one’s around to sign for it when the FedEx guy comes.

We got it sorted out. I opened my phone and…

It’s not the phone I ordered. Oh, it was a refurbed Android device, but not the phone I ordered.

It was better. I got an older model Samsung Galaxy.

Daddy’s happy. Now I don’t have to listen to Jim Scott’s annoying cranky old man bit on WLW during my morning commute. I plugged into the Cincinnati Library’s download system and started listening to audio books immediately. Life is good.

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