Phasers on Stun: The Next Generation

July 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm (Clairissa, Sweet sticky things, The Easy Chair)

I’ve been slow to embrace new technology. When I finally got around to switching from record albums to cassettes as my main musical source, (nobody sold affordable turntables all of a sudden) I swore it would be the last time! Then CDs came along. I still have the albums and cassettes, and about 600 CDs. I bend, but slowly.

I had a rotary phone until the year 2000. Who needs touch tone when you have the internet? (I had no problems embracing computers.) A gift from my cousin came just in time. The option to ‘just stay on the line’; had faded away, and I needed to be able to press 1.

Full disclosure: it isn’t even my phone. I just have an extension in my room. (Thanks, bro-in-law!) I don’t think I’ve ever had a phone in my name. Until pay phones started disappearing, I made do just fine. There was a time when pay phones would allow incoming calls. I would call a friend collect, they would refuse the call, then call me back. Maybe that’s why they raised the rates from a dime to a quarter. Since I find phones invasive, not having the goddamn thing ringing at all hours was a blessing.

Then came the cell phone age. I hated them! “Where you at?” “Where you at?” “Look at me! I can tell annoying anecdotes for hours on the bus!” One of the funniest things I’ve ever heard was an Eminem wannabe describing his previous evening’s date to a buddy. “Dude! She let me put it in her butt! It was awesome! It was nothing like a guy’s butt…”

I have been self-conscious and aware when talking on the phone in public since.

Eventually my Flintstone-like ways caught up to me. I started seeing a tech-savvy woman. Her son’s phone wasn’t cool enough, so he got a new one. The old one was on the family plan, not doing much, so she offered it to me. I could talk to her (or her kids) anytime for free, and had free nights and weekends. Since that *is* my time, I basically got free cell phone service. I mastered TriMet’s transit tracker, figured out speed dial, and recorded a voice-mail greeting that people call to play for their friends.

As time went by, I saw less of the tech-savvy woman, but she let me keep the phone. I love how the phone pitchmen at the Upscale Mall try to hawk me new service. “What kind of plan you got? I can beat it!”

“Free is a very good price!” I quote Tom Peterson as I hurry past. Or, “Sorry, I’m not sleeping with you to get a free phone!” (Although I don’t use that one on the leggy model-wannabe in the black mini-skirt…)

It puffed my feathers a bit to have a woman providing me with a phone. I’d go around humming ‘Just a Gigolo’, feeling like I needed a pimp hat. I started thinking about all the money I’d saved, felt guilty, and began dropping off high-end coffee every once in a while as a sort of payment offering. (Especially after I figured out how to text message. At a dime apiece, I could run the bill up two or three dollars!)

Like all good things though, the free ride had to come to an end. I got an e-mail from the tech-savvy woman. She was getting the new super-duper version of the iPhone, and switching phone service. But if I wanted, she would put me on her plan and I could reimburse her.

Oh, and I can have her old phone!


Last night she dropped by work, handed me a phone, a charger and an instruction manual. (And a Costco pack of coffee filters that will last me until 2010, easily.) She took my old phone, the new phone and a piece of paper. After a few minutes of quiet chatting, she plugged in the new phone to the wall to charge, told me to wait four hours, and then enjoy!

The four hours seemed like an eternity. I watched the little red light turn green: Power up! I glanced at the manual while I waited. On the bus ride home, I deciphered the speed-dial option. Then came time for the address book.

She hadn’t cleared the phone. Up popped Devil and Angel, one on each shoulder.

Devil: “Ooh! Look at all the dirt you can find out!”

Angel: “You really should rspect her privacy.”

Devil: “If she was worried about it, she would have cleared the history.”

Angel: “She’s been really busy.”

Devil: “Maybe I’ll just peek a little…”

I opened the call history. The numbers meant nothing to me, except one. I know that number! She’d called Clairissa recently. Probably to get her daughter a haircut, ot so I hope. TechGirl’s hair has grown out, and the tiny dash of grey in front kicks me in the crotch every time I see it. Please leave it alone!

I mass-deleted the call history. Then to the phone book. One by one I picked off the names. I recognized most of them. (If I hadn’t met them, I had anecdotal knowledge about them.) I feared seeing something that would torch my jealous nerve, but not so. I’m not typically a jealous person, but for some reason I get that way with this girl. For a long time, she was my world, and letting go has been difficult for me. Thankfully there was no stress or angst.

Once I’d cleaned off everything, it was time to import my phone numbers. It took about an hour, and I did most from memory. Then I discovered the camera feature. Woohoo!

Another visit to the manual, and I was snapping pictures of stuff around my room. I could put my own pics on the screen! I took a close-up of one of my skulls. (Yes, I have skulls in my room. Doesn’t everyone?) It casts an eerie black and white glow, and the Portland Beavers cap gives it a local touch. It’ll do, until I can find something more provocative…

That was last night, and I’ve barely begun to play with it. I plan on modifying the ringtones. (Anyone know where I can find the themes to Halloween and The Exorcist?) I also need to record a new voice-mail greeting. My Cereal Killer Hotline needs a rest. I get to keep the old phone; it will be going into my treasure chest as soon as I no longer need to retrieve things from it.

Thank you, TechGirl, for the new toy! It will occupy hours of time on the bus otherwise spent daydreaming, but I promise to keep my voice down. (And not pull an Eminem.)

I hope you have as much fun with your new phone as I am with mine…


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