All that and no hand-crank

So…I decided, after Lord-only-knows-how-many times of having to punch “8666 66444 4 448” on my cell phone (with suitably long pauses in the spaces) just to spell out the word “tonight” in a text message, that it was time to join the twenty-first century and pop for a smart phone. Now, I am not of the same mindset as the younger generation, where texting seems preferable to a voice call; nevertheless, I send (just barely) enough text messages so that I finally reached the point of retiring my old-but-still-working cell phone with its texting capabilities one step removed from Morse code.

Truth be told, except for the texting thing (as well as the very rare occasions when I needed wireless access and the wi-fi was either crappy or nonexistent), the combination of my cell phone and my iPod Touch has served me quite well over time when I have been in mobile mode. The final impetus for changing over, though, came when Donna told me that she wanted a smart phone for her own use on her upcoming trip to Europe, the better for her to be able to send text messages to all of us back home. Now, I am hardly what one might refer to as a cutting-edge techno-geek…but I am certainly light-years ahead of my technically-impaired spousal unit. And if she was planning to text me while on her trip…well, I learned the hard way when daughter Jess went to Guatemala over winter break that it was probably time fror me to upgrade if for no other reason than being able to create a coherent text reply in under five minutes.

And, by God, if Donna was going to upgrade…well, it was about time for me to join the party as well. So we took some time on Saturday for a road trip to our AT&T dealer in Rothschild. Sadly, Lily Adams was there only on a mural; nevertheless, the guy who took care of us was extremely helpful…if nowhere near as cute. As the phones we wanted were out of stock, they had to be ordered and shipped to our house. So, yesterday we brought our new electronic gizmos back to AT&T for activation as well as some tutorial time (I met Donna there on my way home from work).

And now, if you could permit me to digress ever so slightly for a moment, dear reader:

This episode seems to be reaffirming to me the whole “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” thing. You see, my visit pretty much consisted of getting my contacts and messages transferred over from the old phone to the new, followed by me verifying a couple of very basic things I needed to know, and then getting the hell out of Dodge. As for Donna: Suffice it to say that when she walked in, she asked for the representative “with the most patience”. To her credit, she took notes as she went along; still, she stayed there until the store’s 7 PM closing, and my guess is that over the next couple of weeks, we will both be learning many things about our new gadgets. And, aside from how we will approach these little surprises (I will roll up my sleeves and try to get to the bottom of things, while she will bring her phone to me, no doubt to see me roll up my sleeves), the main difference will be in how we announce that we have found something unanticipated:

Donna (to Mike, in a frustrated voice): “I can’t get this thing to work!”

Mike (to Allegedly-Smart Phone, in Pissed-Off-Dad Voice): “^%*%$#*ing %^(#@er!! What the ^%**%^ing (&(&*&^%??!!”

In fact, this has already happened. You see; it never dawned on me that, for the first time ever in my life, I could not intuitively figure out HOW TO ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE WHEN A CALL WAS COMING IN. Which, given the whole concept of the term “smart phone”, seemed pretty much counterintuitive to what I was expecting. I mean…”Phone”. Job One for that expensive little paperweight. And the documentation inside the box was of no help whatsoever; the whole pamphlet seemed to be nothing but a bunch of disclaimers and General Legal Mumbo-Jumbo. So, after a few strings of Dad-English (as illustrated above), I finally got the thing to work. Okay; I had to go online via my laptop to find out that you swipe the phone icon to the right to pick up the call (how foolish of me to have overlooked that little detail). Not quite the same thing as tapping a key (or picking up a handset, for that matter), but I think I will be able to adjust.

And, overall, I really think I am starting to get the general hang of this thing. Given her aversion to profanity, though, hopefully Donna will not have to come to me too often after taking a wrong turn while trying to navigate her way to the texting function. I will probably have to discuss autocorrect with her at some point as well, however; to be honest, that conversation will likely have to be handled more gently than any birds-and-the-bees sort of discussion. In fact, only now am I myself first feeling the pain of all those poor souls whose texting fails have been turned into Internet memes. My gut hunch is that I will not want to be anywhere near her the first time autocorrect tries to think for her…but, well, somebody will have to show her…better now than later, I suppose.

For all that, though, it beats the hell out of having to punch “7777” for the single letter “s”.

#844280444777702555 5551


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