Thursday, 3 February 2011

In which I feel my age. And then some.

I have a love/hate relationship with mobile phones. I love being in touch with those I want to be in touch with and the convenience of them (and amusing myself by playing Texas Hold 'Em on the bus in the days before My Baby arrived). On the other hand, I kind of hate mobile phones themselves. And the whole mysterious sub-culture surrounding them.

My mobile phone recently began to play up in an exceedingly annoying fashion (not sure what non-annoying playing up would be, mind you). When it needed charging, I would dutifully plug it in and it would ignore the charger. Simply refuse to acknowledge its presence. At first, I could coax it a little, bring it round by wiggling the plug a bit. Then that stopped working and getting power into the thing was a much more hit-and-miss affair. Sometimes it would taunt me by obediently starting to charge the minute I plugged in, only to change its mind the moment I did something it disapproved of. Like putting it down on the worktop and walking away. I would come back hours later to find a smugly still-uncharged phone whistling nonchalantly in the kitchen. (I might have imagined the whistling. I did not imagine the smug.)

I did eventually go into the mobile phone shop for advice, although it took me a while as I HATE those places. I feel several decades too old to be taken seriously and I genuinely do not understand about 60% of what is said in there. Its an environment which makes me nervous. I finally went in one day with my Mum - not because I thought she could help (she is worse than I am when it comes to mobile technology) - but just for moral support.

I approached the 15 year old work experience chap behind the counter and explained that my phone wouldn't charge, described the symptoms and then braced myself for the inevitable assumptions of idiocy I knew were heading my way. First of all, he tried plugging it in and naturally, the little blighter started to charge.

Him: It seems to be charging fine........

Me: It does that. It's like when you have a headache for a fortnight and it disappears the minute you go to the doctor. It normally doesn't. Honestly. (He looks unconvinced.)

Him: Are you sure it's not the charger?

Me: (Thinks to myself "Well that's sort of WHY I AM HERE!!!") Yes, I'm pretty sure the charger is okay. I can hear it working (for I am not yet deaf, young man) but presumably you can check that for me? (He does so. It is fine.)

Him: Are you plugging the charger into the right socket on the phone?

Me: *ungritting teeth slightly* Ye-e-e-s, I have had that phone for over two years now. During that time I have figured out where the charge-y bit goes. I am not plugging the charger into the headphone jack, promise.

Him: (jovially) Are you sure you've paid your electricity bill?!!!

I smile faintly. I need his assistance, so poking him in the eyes won't help. Meantime my mum is refusing to make eye contact with me in case she dissolves into hysterics.

Him: Oh look! It's stopped charging!

Me: TA-DAH!!!!! (Well I didn't actually say that, but I thought it really loudly.)

Him: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. I think there's a fault with your phone.

Me: REALLY??????

Him: We'd need to send it away to the manufacturer for repair. Usually takes about 28 days or so.

Me: I'll think about it.

And I did. Inertia took over and I did nothing for a while, except wheedle Husband into working his magic with a can of Servisol every time I needed to charge my phone. Until it finally died - it ran out of power entirely and nothing I did could persuade it to charge.

So now I have a new phone. The phone call to Orange to arrange said new phone was a painful experience as, again, I only understood about 40% of what was said. I eventually managed to get my really important technical questions asked, namely: (1) Can I keep the same number? (yes) and (2) Can I have a less fulsome talk plan as I am no longer a full-time court lawyer and just don't need that many minutes any more? (also yes). I was also assured they could courier the phone to me the next day. At this news, my mind went into Organisation Mode (Can I be in for a courier tomorrow? Do I have any appointments? Do the boys have music lessons tomorrow? Are my neighbours in so they could take a package if I miss it?... etc etc)

Meanwhile the boy on the phone was in full flow about the recommended phone and the package he was offering specially to me because I am such a valued customer. I wasn't really listening as I was still trying to work out whether it would be okay for a courier to stick my new phone in my wheelie bin pending my arrival home. He mistook my middle-aged dithering for hard-headed haggling and promptly knocked £6 per month off the proposed contract price. So humming and hawing comes in useful sometimes. Who knew?

Anyway, my new phone arrived safely and I even managed to get the SIM card in by myself. Only took me 13 minutes, a new personal best. I don't understand how to use it yet (it has a touch screen which keeps surprising me by whizzing around as I try to figure out how to set the time correctly) and it has just occurred to me that I don't know what the ringtone sounds like so may have been ignoring calls for the past 24 hours, but I am sure that I will be a complete genius with it by the time its battery dies or I accidentally drop it into the sink.

One plea for help though: if you know me in real life, could you e-mail your phone number to me? Old Phone had the last laugh: it died with all my numbers in its wizened, bitter little memory and I can't get them out.


  1. Oh what a terrible pain in the a**! I have a plan now where I back up all my phone numbers. I even have put them on Hubby's phone so I won't lose them again.
    I also need a new phone, but I am waiting until I hear my phone gasping for the final vestiges of life.

  2. Our phone service keeps a back-up of your numbers so that when (not if--always when) you must get a new one, they can transfer them to the new one. What a delight! If a cellphone can be a delight.

  3. You sound like me. I asked one of those young twerps for a phone that just made phone calls - forget the games, photos and ability to locate you on three continents.
    He really did look down his (quite long) nose at me.
    Apparently they don't make phones like that any more.
    Ah, well. My old one is still charging. Some of the time.

  4. OMG? So you didn't have a back-up of the numbers on your old phone?! *faint*