With My New Cell Phone, The Worlds My Oyster
Unless Im Calling from North Beach
by Allen Delaney
I have seen the future and its getting smaller. I say this on good authority since I recently traded my old, clunky analog cell phone, powered by a battery slightly larger than a Die Hard, for a new, sleek, very small all-digital cell phone that runs on a rechargeable piece of lint.
I am involved in a seemingly lifelong renovation of an old home in Northern Calvert County, so I figured I would need a reliable, durable, state-of-the-art, wireless communication device. Power tools are not my friends. I may need to call the paramedics with one-button efficiency.
The problem with this new 21st-century technology is that its not designed for sight-impaired, chunky-fingered, middle-aged individuals. The phone is so small that Im constantly losing it among loose change in the pockets of my my relaxed-fit Dockers. It took a lot of talking to convince a skeptical officer that I was, in fact, searching for my phone and nothing else while in a public restaurant. It didnt help that I had received the call while the ringer was on vibrate.
My old cell phone had pretty much one function. I would hold it to my ear and yell over the static to the person on the other end, who would eventually finish the conversation by saying, Youre breaking up. I cant hea
My new phone has so many features that it came with an instruction book the size of War and Peace, only more boring. Being a typical guy, I scoffed at the book. But, with no clue on how exactly to activate my phone, I was forced to read it. Therein lies another complication of this wonderfully annoying new technology: There are no more on and off buttons. Thats because no single button does only one thing any more.
By pressing a red button three times, then a green button twice, then pushing the right arrow five times while holding down the pound key, you can program the phone not to let you use it. I stumbled across this nifty feature while wading through the instructions. Once I had locked my phones keypad with a special code, if I were to lose my cell phone, no wise guy could call long distance say a bar in the Australian Outback and ask if Amanda Hugginkiss is there.
But each button is the size of an ants eyeball, so I wasnt sure of the code I entered. I had to call the phone company from my home phone. Within a scant 17 hours, a customer service representative mistakenly picked up the receiver and, after overcoming waves of laughter, helped me unlock my phone.
Undaunted, I continued to squint and poke the tiny buttons on my miniature technological marvel. I learned its able to ring with seven different tunes, that I have voice mail, call waiting, call forwarding, Internet access, conference calling and even speakerphone capabilities. I also learned, after receiving my first bill, that I had somehow managed to call Africa three times to the tune of $54. Im not kidding. I dont know how I accomplished this, but the nice people from the phone company assured me that I did and theyre looking forward to prompt payment.
While renovating the old North Beach house one Saturday afternoon, I enlisted my digital clarity to make an important and decisive call for pizza delivery. So imagine my surprise especially after seeing the commercials where some guy is wandering around the country asking if you can hear him now when I turned on my phone and got the message no signal.
Evidently the phone guy doesnt wander through northern Calvert County. I trekked down to a local antiques store and while searching through the relics, located the rare artifact I was seeking: a pay phone. It ate my 35 cents, and I ordered my pizza.
Its probably for the best that my phone doesnt work in that area. What if I accidentally call Dominos of the Congo? The tip alone would bankrupt me.