Monday, May 11, 2009

Drug Kicking and Screaming

Well it finally happened. I got up on the wagon for the first time with the rest of you folks. I wasn't kicking and screaming as I might have suggested in the title of this post and I actually was kind of interested to see what I was missing. I guess the old techno-geek in me broke loose for a change after being suppressed for so many years. Yes, I am now the owner of a cellphone.

Technically my wife has had a cellphone for many years. It was one that she had owned before she met me and we got her a basic plan of 100 minutes per month for a bare bones price. We did it because she was commuting 120 miles a day to work and I wanted her to have it in case of emergencies. For five years, it was sufficient but the time has come when it wasn't going to work for us.

My wife will be starting her residency, again, this summer and due to the late and odd hours, we have bought a second home. Actually we are only renting and it is an apartment but I like the thought of a second home so that is what I'm calling it. Our second home is just going to have the bare essentials and we didn't want to sign up for a landline phone that would be expensive and not used much. On nights where Mrs. Abbey is working late and staying up there, we wanted to be able to talk to Little Abbey and myself so we needed a phone with more minutes.

We looked at various carriers but only two of them have signals here in rural Iowa where our primary home is located. Mrs. Abbey's current carrier was definitely more reasonable priced so we decided to stop in and scope things out. We ended up with 1000 minutes though I hardly see how we can use them since calling each other is free and also any five people who we choose. I only call maybe two or three people besides my wife and my wife is very similar in her calling habits. But 1000 minutes was $20 off per month which made it as cheap as the cheapest plan. We also ended up with not one but two free phones and all this for the paltry sum of $60 a month. This is about 50% less than our current phone bill for the landline phone. My long term plan is to eventually get rid of the phone but for now, I will still have my landline for reasons that I plan to blog about next.

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I found myself reading an instruction manual and punching buttons on my new black Motorola Razr phone. I learned how to hypothetically take pictures, videos, change wallpapers and many other funtions I will never use and will forget by the end of this week. I always wondered how people could type fast enough on keypads to stay interested in a conversation but after entering a couple dozen phone numbers that I may want to call sometime in this millenium, I was getting pretty good at it. I waded through menu after menu selecting options that I had no idea if I even wanted. Do I want it to vibrate, ring, ring then vibrate, vibrate then ring, do I want the vibrate to be a dot, a dash, a dot and dash, two dots, and do I want those vibrations soft, medium or loud. The choices just kept going on. I elected to just do the old fashioned ring but in the two or three times my wife called me just to say hello because she could (see how quickly someone slides with a cellphone), I had a hard time differentiating my plain old ring from that of everyone elses. I could choose from a long list but they all just seemed hokey to me and not something I would want someone to have to hear if they were in the vicinity of my ringing phone. So I went online and $2.49 later, I had a ringtone of which I could be proud. I now answer to the opening guitar rift of Deep Purple's classic "Smoke On the Water".

I may have gotten a cellphone but it doesn't mean I have caved completely. I still refuse to take it everywhere I go. Other than the first call or two to my wife just because it was a novelty, I am not going to call anyone unless I have to and it can't wait until I get to my landline until such a time that my landline no longer exists. I turn it off when I am in meetings, church or other group gatherings. I am not giving out my number and no you can't have it Murf. I got the Razr for one reason, it was the thinnest one and it was free. Okay, that was two reasons but I got it so that I could tuck it in my front pocket and nobody is the wiser so I don't have to refuse people when they ask for my number. The only remaining question I have yet to answer is what to say when someone notices something near my crotch vibrating in two dot increments to the opening guitar rift of Smoke On the Water?


Murf said...

I doubt anyone looks at your crotch, Ed. :-)

Big A and I are thinking about going the other way...getting the 'pay as you go' kind of plan or something like what your wife had originally. What carrier did she have that through?

sage said...

Although I have had a cell phone for years, I haven't gone low enough to download a ringer... but then I didn't know you could get Deep Purple! My cell phone tends to stay in my truck or in my brief case--on vibrate.

Ed Abbey said...

Murf - She had iWireless which is essentially T-Mobile but it wasn't a pay as you go plan. It was still $25 a month whether or not she used it. I know they do have a pay as you go plan but it required you to buy minutes in chunks ahead of time. I'm still hoping for someone that you can pay after the fact like a land line phone.

Sage - I couldn't resist Deep Purple! My cell phone has mostly been off since I got it but I do admit on my recent road trip, it certainly came in handy.

Beau said...

Welcome to the dark side... I hardly use mine but carry it most places just in case. I remember reading about a gal in WA state that ran off the road in winter, and her cell phone saved her life. She couldn't use it, but they located her. I figure it's a tool, and when I'm out "tooling around" it comes in pretty handy sometimes.

Frank D. Myers said...

I used to think about getting one when I was on the road a lot, but no longer. Not that a cell phone is a bad thing, especially in case of emergencies --- but who do those people with phone to ear you see driving along, or shopping, or jogging, or eating in a restaurant talk to, and why? Have you ever noticed that when someone talks in public on a cell phone, or any phone for that matter, he or she starts talking louder about things you'd just as leave not hear? And how about those guys standing at the urinal? Sheesh!

The Real Mother Hen said...

Oh welcome to the cellular world. It's time Ed. Forget about landline, that's just not working. Who would want to be home just to call or be called? I haven't had a home phone for more than 10 years now.

Your plan seems reasonable. Have fun! :)

Ron said...

I got off the wagon for a couple of years, having spent a decade working for a cellular communications provider. Finally, reluctantly, got a Tracfone just in case I had to prostitute myself as a handyman when the economy died. It's really handy for making a quick call to Mel when she's in town... that is, if she'd actually turn it on. :)

Course, like you, I'm awful reluctant to use the beast or tell anyone I have it. :)


Ed Abbey said...

Beau - During the three weeks I've owned it, I've found it handy mostly on my business trip. For day to day use, it mostly is just another object to carry in my pocket along with my knife, keys, change, etc.

Frank - I think of those people everytime I do use it in hopes that I won't become one of them.

Mother Hen - In our rural area, I don't get reception inside my home so a land line will still remain a necessary evil but I'm working on improving that situation. Stay tuned for my next post.

Ron - I'll remember that in case I have to prostitute myself as a mushroom hunter or something if the economy causes me to loose my job. :)

R. Sherman said...

I have only a "pay as you go" phone and I steadfastly refuse to give my number to anyone other then my wife, kids, and my own secretary, who all now that further dissemination of same will result in me being extraordinarily crabby. I've found that if people think they can dial you up anytime, they'll insist on bothering you with everything, thereby keeping you from concentrating on the important stuff.


Ed Abbey said...

R. Sherman - That is also why I turn mine off frequently when I don't want interruptions.

TC said...

I hope that when you don't answer your phone your Mom doesn't assume the worst like mine does.

Ed Abbey said...

TC - I don't think she assumes I'm dead anymore and I know she doesn't think I'm dating a married person anymore since I'm married. I'm not sure actually what she thinks if I don't answer anymore.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Geez man, when did ya buy your first flivver? You really ARE a fuddy-duddy!