A Smart-Enough Phone

A surprising number of parkingspots sat empty outside the Verizon store in Jackson Plaza two days after Christmas.  Thank goodness.  Because being without a cell phone for almost a week had frazzled my nerves more than I expected.

The time had come to replace my broken phone with one as similar to it as possible.

Of course, I realized they probably didn’t make a dinosaur like my old phone any more.  But I was determined to get a new one with as few bells and whistles as possible.   I definitely wasn’t in the market for a Blackberry or a Droid an i-phone
or anything else that had “G” in its name.  Why embarrass myself with a phone that’s smarter than I am?

I tried to prepare myself emotionally for what would almost certainly happen when I walked into the store.  The salespeople would scatter like roaches when the kitchen light’s turned on.  Not that I blame them.  If I were twenty-something years old and couldn’t remember a time when agile thumbs weren’t essential to all knowledge and entertainment, I wouldn’t want to wait on the likes of me.

A pleasant young man whose nametag said “Jeremiah” apparently drew the short end of the stick and said he’d be more than happy to help me.  Bless his heart.

Jeremiah didn’t seem at all flummoxed when I took the broken-in-two phone out of my purse and told him I was worried that all my data was lost. “Maybe not,” he said.  “I’ll see what I can do.”  In the meantime, perhaps I’d like to look over the choices of new phones.  He headed straight for the display of smart phones.

“No,” I said.  “I want a simple phone.  Just like the one that broke.”

He smiled knowingly and told me that models similar to mine were still available.  But if I wished, I could get one with a full texting keyboard for the same price.

Hmmm.  I’d been intrigued by the notion of a full keyboard ever since I learned to text.  Mostly because it takes forever to type a message when you have to punchthe “7” button four times just to type the letter “s.”  And I hate how complicated it is to properly capitalize and punctuate on a phone with only a number keypad.

(I’ll interrupt myself here to say that rumor has it that it’s okay not to properly capitalize and punctuate when texting.  But I’ll never subscribe to that way of thinking.  Never.)

The main thing that held me back was fear of “butt dialing,” a crude but accurate term that means sitting down with the unlocked phone in your hip pocket and accidentally placing a call.  Such a thing can’t happen with a flip-phone.  Jeremiah assured me that the newest phones lock automatically and so quickly that there’s almost no danger of accidental dialing.

Would I like to try one?

He took an LG “Octane” out of its box and showed me how to work it.  So far, so good.  If only it weren’t so plain.   Nothing but a boring black rectangle.  Ah, but this model came with a no-extra-charge snazzy rubberized cover in several color choices.  I picked Tennessee Tech purple and walked out of the store a happy customer, especially after Jeremiah succeeded in transferring all the numbers in my contact list to the new phone.

He didn’t load my Elvis ringtone, though, and I’m still waiting for James to do that.  In the meantime, my phone’s ring sounds pretty much like everybody else’s.  Which means that when I couldn’t figure out how to silence the phone during a meeting and got a call, nobody knew I was the culprit.  Until now.  NOTE TO SELF:  You have to unlock the phone before you can
adjust the volume.

An added bonus was what I discovered when I got home and looked at the business card Jeremiah had handed me.  His last name is Johnson.  Just the segue I need for next week’s column.
(January 22, 2012.)

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