A portrait of my cell phone: Elderly at the ripe old age of five. Scratched burgundy shell, the cover long since peeled off. Old but reliable. Not quite old enough to have an antenna, but not quite recent enough to know what an “app” is. It flips open, revealing a screen black and blank. In its disabled state, caused by concrete-inflicted injuries, it no longer remembers how to add a contact. It can recall neither the calculator it once new so well nor the alarm clock. Text messages are a laborious task when you can’t flip a flip phone. I press the number “3” three times for an “I.” When agitated, it takes blurry pictures of the inside pocket of my purse. The phone powers down, exhausted, before I even get to work.
You might call it cruel of me to keep its nose to the grindstone when I should be pushing it to sea in a viking boat and singing sorrowful hymns, yet after several weeks I still haven’t replaced it. I can’t open at a text message longer than five words because the outer screen is too small. I can’t look at a picture. I can’t set an alarm. Dave is my begrudging alarm clock now and I have done nothing. I am in denial. I am waiting for the problem to fix itself.
Nothing annoys me more than technology with a lifespan shorter than that of a hamster. Electronics die and are replaced with a newer, shinier inventions faster than I am willing to keep up with. When I latch on to a cell phone or an iPod, my attachment outlasts battery life expectancy. My phone was a constant in my life throughout college. When I graduated, my phone was there. When I moved downstate, my phone was there. It even lay dormant in my suitcase for four months while I frolicked through Prague.
Dave gave me his old Android phone, a hand-me-down upgrade from the old flip phone. I thought of the advantages of catching up with current technology. Emailing on the bus. Googling engrossing questions. Immersing myself in an emerging genre of literature only accessible with a smart phone. I spent hours on the phone with Verizon trying to set it up, only to find out that I would have to pay a data plan. This I was not willing to do. So I trudged onward, stubbornly clasping a powered-down flip phone that reeks of death and dementia.
When I get a new cell phone or a computer, I want it to meet my parents. I want it to grow old with me. If I get a replacement phone (and that cell phone will likely be an identical flip phone), it better be ready for a commitment. I'm in it for life.