Saturday, July 17, 2010

Where Is That Ringing Coming From?

In the 21st century, we have stores devoted entirely to choosing cellphones and proper 'plans'. It is now a fundamental need of many in our society to carry little computers in their pockets. Significant sums of money are devoted to the purchase, utilization and worship of the latest, and for what appears to be the briefest of moments, the greatest in technological achievement.

To put this in context, my phone is a relic. It has no 'data' plan and does little more than permit me to speak with others without a telephone cord. I don't do text messaging. I still have not quite mastered the art of searching for my phone contacts. I did not program these contacts, and would be without any alphabetical list were it not for the assistance of my family.

I am proud to report that I have taken many pictures with my phone. However, almost every one is of the inside of my pocket. Those few that have been taken intentionally, remain locked inside my own world as I have no idea how to send the images to the rest of society. I am always told that most applications are intuitive. What the hell does that mean?

Over the past several weeks, we have had numerous family discussions about upgrading our phones and our plans. It seems that every time a new phone is acquired, one must pledge allegiance to a particular carrier for a period of years. Like LeBron, Dwyane and Chris, my entire family has now played out our contracts. We are free agents on the phone market.

Jo and I enter the Verizon store. There is much energy and enthusiasm among the gathered throng. I listen to animated conversations about the size of this piece, the narrowness of that one. I hear mention as to the clarity of the picture. There is talk of Droids and similar other worldly sounding pieces. I know that all of this has significance, but for the life of me, I can't find the on-off button on the phone at which I am staring.

I watch as Jo picks up a demo model and navigates through its portal into another universe. I try, in my head, to mimic her every move.

Jo shows me how she got onto the Internet. NYTimes.com appears and she is soon turning images sideways, making them bigger and then smaller. She continues to do magic tricks for a few more minutes. She has now convinced herself, I think, that she is up whatever challenges she may encounter.

I soon step up to bat. I try to make myself almost invisible, so that those in the room won't notice that there is an imposter in their midst. I make it appear that I am totally conversant in the rudimentary functions of this lump I hold in my hand.

After a few moments, images actually appear on the screen. I quickly get the hang of moving my fingers closer together or further apart. I find the icon to be advised as to the weather in every town on the globe. I can do some things. Not a lot, but some things.

I don't want to press my luck. While it takes a little effort, I am eventually able to back out, and produce a blank screen for the next visitor. I don't think anyone has noticed me. Given my limited abilities, I consider this to be an unqualified success.

Jo and I slowly work our way out of the store and into the night air. We speak of options for each family member. We decide that I will wait a little before making a decision. I will try out what Jo buys, slowly, and see whether frustration or excitement is the prevailing sentiment. Let me dip my toe into the water, before diving in. One small step for man...

1 comment:

Richie Jay said...

One giant leap for dadkind!