Quondam Dreams

Friday, June 30, 2006

Love, Cell Phones, A Strange Walk And Me

My cell phone sucks. It seemed nice enough at the beginning of our relationship, but as time has gone on, I find myself discovering more and more ways in which this supposedly non-sentient object is quite deliberately trying to drive me crazy. It's like one of those movies where the main characters have to stage a marriage for a set period of time, except for the part about falling in love at the end. We'll probably stay together through the terms of our agreement, but I don't think we'll be shacking up forever.

My last phone and I split in December. If you were to ask it - and if it were a living thing that could actually answer back - it would say that it left me. Since I'm the one telling this story, though, let the record show that I dumped it in order to take advantage of my plan's biannual upgrade hook.

After at least a couple of minutes of deliberation, I settled on an LG VX6100. It seemed like a nice, solid phone, balancing the features I wanted to have with the price I was willing to pay for them.

It looked so sweet and innocent.

Here's the thing the phone only revealed to me after the ink was dry: the buttons on the sides stick out far enough and are sensitive enough that seemingly every time I pull my phone out of my purse, it's done something I don't want it to do. I've spent hours deleting pictures of the inside of the lens-protection slider from the gallery. Putting the phone in manner mode is all but pointless, because if one of the buttons on the left side gets nudged for a couple of seconds, the phone goes into Driving Mode and loudly announces all of my incoming calls. If the phone gets nudged again in just the right way, it may turn Driving Mode off, but the phone defaults to regular, ringer-enabled mode even when it was in manner mode in the first place.

As if that weren't frustrating enough, over the past week or so it's become fickle about how much of a charge it will allow its battery to hold.

Since relationships are about compromise, rather than ditch the encumbrance for a younger, flashier model which would undoubtedly cost me more than I planned to spend, I decided to get myself one of those in-car chargers. A little online recon pointed me to a Radio Shack a couple of blocks from where I've been working. Perfect for a little lunchtime stroll.

Maybe I should be thanking whatever forces brought this phone and me together. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have taken a that walk, and wouldn't have run into this succession of people:

- A guy who was quite certain in his conviction that Lyndon LaRouche is the only real Democrat, and everyone he doesn’t like is a Nazi. As if that weren't enough, he also told me that I've been suckered in by said Nazis; tried to pressure me into giving money to the LaRouche PAC, because, to hear him tell it, that was the way to prove that I am committed to promoting political discourse; and had the bad form to guess my age right on the nose. He seemed very disappointed that I wouldn’t give him my phone number.

- A very smiley girl, handing out small double tablet-shaped cards imprinted with the Ten Commandments.

- A group of expensively-highlighted women assembling for an L.A. Film Fest event, all of whom were wearing vaguely Indian-inspired couture with uncomfortable-looking sandals. Predictably, they were chattering away on Blackberries and looking at everyone except the people with whom they were standing.

- My aunt Ruth, who seemed slightly thrown by my presence in her neck of the woods.

For reasions I can't quite explain, I felt like I'd traveled through a scene from The Crying Of Lot 49. Life imitates Pynchon. Call me Oedipa.

I acquired the charger from Radio Shack, and returned later in the day to exchange it for one that actually worked with an LG VX6100. When I got to my car, I plugged everything in. The car charger lit up with a faint green glow. The phone's display brightened up blue-grey. I drove off into the golden magic-hour light, humming.

I hope I can remember that feeling of contentment the next time my phone starts screaming numbers at me.


  • having been frustrated by my cell phone and service (tmobile, two different phones), i've spent the past 3-4 months looking at various cell phones and service providers and asking friends and family what their coverage was like with various phones. and finally settled on a Cingular Razr. the popular phone on the popular network.

    the best phone and service i've had was an old motorola v120 on verizon but i left them 3 years ago because of lousy customer service.

    By Blogger dubiousbiologist, at July 6, 2006 at 12:52 PM  

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