Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Untethered, or why I hate the mobile phone industry

**added in after original posting** I just looked at the graphic of the cell phone...doesn't it look like it's resting on a mini-pad? Just noticing!

I'm am madder than a wet hen right now. Yesterday around 1:10 p.m., a friend called on my cell phone while I was in my office. We chatted a few minutes; the call ended. Nothing unusual, except that just after I left work yesterday around 3 and was halfway home, I reached into my purse for my phone AND IT WASN'T THERE. No problem - I reached into the left pocket of my scrub top. Then the right. AND IT WASN'T THERE. Still not concerned. I merely pulled into a parking lot, dumped out the entire contents of my purse, my lunch bag and my tote that I carry essential items like a spare Oprah mag and knitting in case I get locked down at work and need mindless diversion. AND IT WASN'T ANYWHERE.

Vapors of concern were starting to waft in from the periphery, but still optimistic, I turned the car around, headed back to work, and spent the next 1/2 hour doing a CSI search of my office, the classrooms, the trash cans and the contents of the aforementioned bags again. Vapors of concern have become large dark thunderheads. It is nowhere. I just got the phone via an upgrade last month while in Atlanta for the wedding, so it was cheapish, and I'm still waiting for the $50 mail in rebate to arrive in my mailbox because I was a good doobee and sent in all the required paperwork in plenty of time. I know that if the phone doesn't materialize, I will have to buy a new one outright, which will likely cost about a third of the national debt.

After the lengthy work search, I headed to my phone service purveyor, AT$T, to recount my dilemma and see if I can get the service suspended for a short time to provide a grace period for the phone to resurface. "Absolutely we can suspend the service for up to 45 days, but you still have to pay for it", Mohammed, the sales associate tells me earnestly, hopefully. No prob - at least I can thwart the heinous cell phone thief from serial crank calling Tahiti on my dime.

While at the phone joint, I look at other phones and find one I like if I end up having to get another, which I won't because of course mine will turn up tomorrow (today) when I get to work. I find one I like better than my new one that is actually cheaper by $50 than my last, just $49.99. I ask Mohammed how much the phone would be if I buy it outright, since I already used my upgrade and was too cheap to insure my 1 month old new phone. "$250", he answers ruefully. "$250 dollars? Are you f-ing kidding me?" I bark back. "I know", Mohammed murmurs sympathetically. I avow with seething certainty, "This is an f-ing racket." I did apologize to messenger Mohammed for my wrath, for he is not the author of this ridiculous f-ing racket that is the mobile phone industry. I blew out the door in a cloud of righteous indignation. Once in my car, I assured myself that my phone would be handed to me by a smiling co-worker in the morning. And then shake my head in disbelief over what some poor slob would have to pay if their phone wasn't found.

Poor slob, thy name is Leslie. As I sit here now, it's 12:06; the phone has not appeared. It's as if it disappeared into a rare troposheric black hole. I had it for that phone call at 1:10. 2 hours later it was MIA, and in 50 minutes it will be gone for roughly 24 hours. Without a trace.

The good news is that it isn't an I-phone or blackberry or some fancy schmancy pricey piece of techno-gold. It's a fairly basic phone with a slide out texting pad that I hadn't even gotten used to yet. In this day and age, even many homeless people have cell phones, so it's unlikely that a heinous thief did in fact break into my office and make off with the goods.

It really kills me to have to chunk out $250 for a new phone, esp. after that $64.00 paycheck 10 ten days ago because my off time used up all my accrued paid time off and then some. I'm extremely cash-poor right now. But I'm fortunate that I can pull out a credit card, get the new phone after work today, and start rebuilding my extensive address book that is gone with the wind, with the phone. This isn't the end of the world. Just the end of that phone, probably. I'm still holding out a smidgen of hope that I'll find it before I leave work today.

In the short time I haven't had the phone, it's amazing how unconnected I feel. I had amany thoughts on the way home from the phone store yesterday, and on the way to work this morning. I'm used to automatically pulling out the phone and dialing someone up - and just typing that dates me totally because who has dialed a phone in years??? I well remember dialing, riding my finger back through the dial, trying to make it go faster. Along with the excrutiatingly difficult task of having to get up to change the t.v. channel by clicking the dial - adjusting the horizontal and vertical hold buttons! Can you imagine such travesty, young bloggers!? How did we ever live through such primitive times ;) ! And how quickly do even old gals like myself get soft and find the rigors of a day without instant connection almost not worth living. It's a wonder I didn't have to take to my bed.

My emotional eating response to this yesterday afternoon? I came home and had an organic natural peanut butter sandwich on beautiful 100% whole 7 grain aldark bread. That was my snack, instead of yogurt and fruit. I needed something more of the comfort food variety, and it did the trick without undoing my good eating day. This phone thing would have been ticket to binge, as silly as that sounds. Silly but true. So all in all, yesterday was not such a bad day.

And guess what??? I'm probably getting a shiny new phone later!


  1. Oh, sorry! Crazy how we get used to our technology isn't it? My guess is that it fell out of a pocket into a trash bin. Otherwise you surely would have found it by now. If you are at work (or not) have you tried calling it to see if someone answers it? Congrats on controlling the eating. At least you didn't cost yourself pounds in addition to the dollars!!

  2. Isn't it amazing how dependent we are on our cell phones? I can still remember when we got our first one. I was pregnant with my first child (now 20) and my husband had an hour long commute and my mother worried he'd miss the birth so bought him one. Big and expensive. Now his has internet and all sorts of fancy bells and whistles.

  3. I assume you tried and tried calling it to no avail - ? Or was it turned off?

    Do you have any eldery clients that collect things? my mom always had a few packrats that liked to stash stuff in drawers - but staff knew where to look when things went missing.

    I find it UTTERLY ANNOYING when I misplace something - even if there is no $$$ involved - so I can well imagine how annoying this is.

    The advantage to phones on our plan (and not liking to update very often) is that we ALWAYS have a phone or two available to upgrade. My middle child's battery would no longer hold a charge a couple weeks ago. It was cheaper to upgrade phone ($53 fee, $50 rebate) than it was to buy a new battery! And we save all the old cell phones. Like if we didn't have an upgrade available - and someone broke theirs - it would be cheaper to buy new battery for her old one than to buy new phone (with no upgrade availble.).

    Do you have a friend with an old-ish cell phone you can have installed with your number until you find yours???

  4. So sorry about your phone. Battling technology and technologists and suppliers always is stressful. Good job on staying focused. I hope your phone turns up soon!

  5. What in the hell are horizontal and vertical hold buttons? Is that anything like "rabbit ears" or tin foil antennaes? I have a vague memory of those, lol.

    Sorry about the phone ordeal. I know this is a stupid question....but I'm assumed you called your phone while you were at work from another # to see if you could hear it ring and locate it that way, right? I've done that several times to find mine. Good luck!

  6. Aw, that sucks Leslie! Fingers crossed it magically reappeared today!!

  7. It is heartbreaking to lose your phone. It has happened to me. Ughhh... I feel your pain Leslie.

  8. That sucks!
    My brother lost his in his living room and months later, still no phone.

  9. Hey Leslie...didja call yer phone?

    Just kidding. I was reading everyone's comments and I noticed how many of us asked that. I actually didn't even think of it. Hee hee.

    My response would have been this: BLARGH!! and then locking the powdered sugar cupboard so I don't make icing to dunk my sorrows in.

  10. That is so annoying! I wonder if you can buy a phone from ebay or somewhere online for cheap and then have it activated? What a pain!

    Re dialing - back in the olden days I used to memorize people's phone numbers. Today I know four - my husband, two sons and my work. Sad what technology has done for my brain!

  11. Hi Leslie. Sorry you're having this stress. If this happened to me I'd buy a cheapo pay-as-you-go phone on the same network and just ask the company to send you a replacement contract SIM card. Or maybe you could get a secondhand phone? They will have to send you a replacement SIM card anyway presumably - but the phone you put it in is up to you. Do you still have your previous phone?

    Well done for not losing it on the eating front over all this. And you may yet find it.

    Bearfriend xx

  12. I hope that darn phone resurfaces!

    Was the guy's name really Mohammed? LOL

    Better day tomorrow!

  13. That really sucks. I'll hold out hope for you that you find it somehow.

    I don't have a cell phone. My boyfriend who I live with has one, so I can use his when he's around if I need it, but I don't have my own. I do have a home phone, but I just use MagicJack which doesn't work well at all for any conversation over 90 seconds. But you know what? It's not bad. Not having a cell. I don't really mind at all. There have only been a few situations I've been in in which I thought, Boy, I could use a cell phone right now, and I just used someone else's. I think people depend on them too much.

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  15. Sorry your phone is hiding from you right now... As you say, no doubt it will resurface just as soon as you've bought a new one and updated its phone book, etc... I ws going to suggest ringing the number, but I see everyone else has suggested that as well! lol

    I've had a mobile phone of some description for 15 years and although I don't use it that much for voice calls, it's indespensible for quick text messages.

    Until I get my new laptop from my new job (long story!) I'm having to use my own laptop and I'm taking it around with me on public transport. I'm paranoid someone will mug me for it (it's practically worthless, but it has EVERYTHING on it!) and so I've been pretending to be *a bit crazy* so people leave me alone! lol That works, by the way... :o)