Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stoopid cell phones

Cell phones themselves are nice to have, but everything connected to them is a pain in the ass of the highest order. Can you tell I've been having a frustrating day? I'm working night shift this week, and it isn't agreeing with me. Daytime sleep feels so unwholesome, like I've been drugged, and it gives me nightmares. Then, since yesterday was my day off, I slept until 3:00pm, having worked all night the night before thinking I'd have to stay up late to stay on a night shift schedule, but I ended up falling asleep at 11:30pm and sleeping all night, so now I'm back on a "day" schedule, but I have to work all night tonight.

Anyway, last January we became a modern, technological family with cell phones for all, and it has been an endless headache. Everywhere, there are receptacles of water--the dogs' bowls, toilets--in which my children have dropped their phones, which causes the phones to act funny or die entirely. Not only that, they're buzzing and lighting up constantly, and I mean constantly. Our first bill showed we'd sent and received 50,000 texts. FIFTY THOUSAND TEXTS. And this month's bill had an extra $92 charge for "data" because Mad Scientist wasn't aware that it's not free to connect to the internet with your phone.

Now, Miss G's phone has died, mysteriously--no water involved--and we went to the Sprint store to see what we could do about it. Only we never got to actually talk to anyone because the associates were helping other customers, but when a customer finally left, the associate who had been helping him, and who had told us someone would be assisting us soon, disappeared. The other customer was having a very long and complex interaction with her Sprint associate, so long and complex that her pregnancy became visibly more advanced while I waited for her to finish. A different Sprint associate appeared on the floor and busily logged onto her computer, but she put up such a strong "don't approach me" vibe, she might as well have erected a force field around herself. It is not an exaggeration to say it was impossible to approach her. When I realized we had been waiting for nearly half an hour, I walked out. The same thing happened the last time we went to the Sprint store too.

Remember when all you did to get a phone was call the phone company? It would take about a day for them to set it up, and then you would call your friends and tell them your new number and they'd write it down in their address books. Remember when phones served solely as a means of communication and not as a device for storing information so no one fussed about losing their contacts, or needing "wireless backup" or whatever to be able to preserve their contacts because everybody had a HANDWRITTEN ADDRESS BOOK? As you did yourself. Remember that?

A while back I heard a story on NPR about how the practice of saving all your numbers on your cell phone means that you no longer bother to memorize important phone numbers, and that this is becoming a problem for people who are arrested because when it's time to make their one phone call, and they don't know the number because they didn't memorize it because it was saved on their cell phone. I am sure that is a useful lesson for us all.


  1. Just today I had to look on my phone to find out my own daughters phone number. Very sad.

  2. I still use a land line for most calls. But my kids are younger and I'm old-school that way. I rarely use my cell phone and often don't remember my own number!

  3. Yep, we've reached the point where we no longer have a landline, but thankfully we lose phones enough to still memorize important numbers with frequency... ahem. Mostly we just stick to cheap model phones so they're easier to replace. But cell phone companies do suck to deal with, all around.