Fangle Me Upside the Head

Sometimes I feel like an army of one in the Global War on How Things Are Now.

Consumer Cellular—that Heaven-sent company for old, grouchy, reluctant adopters—has sent me a brusque email. They say that something called 3G is going away; hence, they can no longer support the phone I keep in my car. 

Therefore, I must upgrade. It’s, like, mandatory.

A Smart Phone Denier

If you have been paying attention, Fair Reader, you’ll already know about my failure to be enthralled by smart phones. But in case you are a newcomer here, I’ll just mention that my only cell phone is a $13-a-month clamshell device. I keep it charged in my car in case of the just-barely-possible event of having car trouble in a remote location.

That device, and the service package that keeps it going, have now been dumped on history’s rubbish heap. The slightest available upgrade—to 4G, whatever that is—will cost me $25 per month, almost double what I now pay. Our free market being what it is, that convenient new figure of $25 derives from nothing more complex or baffling than the company’s need to extract twice as much cash from its senior citizen customers. 

In addition to the service plan, one must also have a new phone. The 4G version of my old flip phone costs less than sixty dollars, and they will let me pay that off at two bucks a month for two years. So my penalty for living in 2021 will be only $27 minus the $13 I was already paying. So, an extra $14 per month. Chicken feed. Then I could roll on as before, unvexed by progress. 

I probably should do just that.

But, Why Not?

You know full well, Dear Reader, how easily the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought. You see, that same two bucks a month would cover an entry-level “smart” phone—a sleek little beauty with a shiny glass face and the ability to do all those things people are always doing with their smart phones. 

So, what’s to think about? Why would I not make the obvious move—the “smart” move? 

Once upon a time, Your New Favorite Writer—in a desperate, ill-starred bid to enter the twenty-first century—acquired an Apple iPhone 4. I shared my life with it for a couple of years, but we never became romantically involved. No matter how I tried, I could not develop an abject dependence on, or even a liking for, the darned thing.

I do enjoy chatting with my friends and relatives; that doesn’t mean I feel a need to talk or text with them every few minutes. Likewise, I feel no need to document my doings with photos. I can check email on my laptop; when I get home will be soon enough. 

Diners enjoy a meal with smart phones. Photo by Infrogmation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

As for driving directions: If I’m going someplace I’ve never gone, I look it up ahead of time. My old granny always told me: If you don’t know where you’re going, don’t go.

Tallying up all all these phantom benefits, I then considered the pocket factor. In my pockets I carry a wallet, keys, comb, sun-glasses case, and, often, a roll-up hat to keep the sun off my head. I spent two years trying to cram an Apple iPhone 4 in with all that stuff. Never did find a place where it could fit.

So I chucked the smart phone and opted instead for a simple flip phone to reside in my car.

Living in the Past

Having failed to embrace the modern world, I tried instead to make a virtue of nonconformity. I have aspired to be the last person in North America to get a smart phone. One can—without becoming a Luddite, I trust—take a certain kind of calm satisfaction from hewing to the good old ways.

Yet now, this idyll is threatened. Not by the convenience or utility of smart phones, that’s for sure. Not even by irresistible coercion from Consumer Cellular; after all, they have been careful to keep a clamshell model available, newly enabled for 4G. 

What if?

No, Gentle Reader, it is only the sinking feeling that some new, unforeseen wrinkle in the social fabric may suddenly render smart phones truly indispensable. Then I’d be out of luck, wouldn’t I? I would be the only person in North America yet to begin the smart phone learning curve. Maybe I should start now, before it’s too late. At least, you know, get my learner’s permit. 

Does that make sense?

In a dark corner of my mind there is a ragged rebellion raging against this craven capitulation. There has been no need for the convenience and wonderfulness of a smart phone until now. What could change? 

All this may seem like a small matter, but in my brain the choice looms like an existential crisis. To smart phone, or not to smart phone? That is the question. 

Am I the only one with this dilemma? 

Blessings,

Larry F. Sommers,

Your New Favorite Writer

9 thoughts on “Fangle Me Upside the Head

  1. Haha, you’re not alone, man. Thanks!

  2. Larry, I feel your angst/dissonance on this. I’ve been a smartphone user for quite a few years now (but was a late-adopter compared to most of my friends), and yet I long for the simplicity of my old Nokia “candy bar” phone. In terms of cost, I would suggest Spectrum Mobile. $14/mo. — period. No added taxes or fees. Your bill is exactly that, to the penny. That gets you unlimited talk and text, plus 1 gigabyte of data (which you may not need, but it comes with the deal). They don’t offer a non-smartphone, but they have some smartphones that are $5/mo. So that would give you a total bill of $19/mo. I’ve been with them for over a year now, and have been very satisfied. They use Verizon’s network, so the coverage is very good. –Rob

    • Thanks for the info, Rob. I’ll crank that into my old analog brain with all the other considerations and pray that something comes out!

  3. touché Larry

  4. You may be right, Larry, but I won’t be giving up my stupidphone for a couple of years yet.

    • Thanks for the observation, Roz. I may as well confess that I have capitulated. I have a smart phone on order, and we’ll see what develops. Your prayers and thoughts will be appreciated.

  5. Pingback: Fangle Me Upside the Head, Part Two – Reflections

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.