Posted in Commentary, Growing up/old, Memory Lane

First World Problems

My cellphone is (by cellphone standards) a pretty antiquated, at least 3 generations behind current, Blackberry flip phone. I keep my phones a long time; being laughed at by cellphone store employees when I finally surrender to the need for a new one is something I’m used to. I keep this one because flip phones are largely going the way of the dodo; everybody loves the touchscreen phones.

Everybody but me, that is. I don’t like touchscreens in general. I don’t like fingerprints on everything. I don’t like typing on them because inevitably I end up pressing things I swear I had no intention of pressing and spend more than half my time backspacing.  (This is why I have no desire for an iPad.)  We were recently in the Verizon store to get Scott a new iPhone after his met with an early demise due to mysteriously wet circumstances, and as I walked through the store, all the phones on display were touchscreen phones; the only flip phones available were the pay-as-you-go phones. So I need to keep mine alive as long as possible.

But mostly, I prefer a flip phone because it’s longer, and as my hearing gets progressively worse, I want the speaker close to my ear, and the microphone close to my mouth. And although I don’t believe I have a head of greater-than-average size, the touchscreen phones just don’t accommodate that for me adequately; I always feel like I have to move the phone up to hear properly, and then down to speak properly and be heard by whomever’s on the other end. The hearing thing is a real problem, to the point that I’d prefer to e-mail than talk on the phone, and I’ve even considered getting a landline again, but I’m still holding a grudge against Qwest and their overpriced service. The flip phone is the middle ground; I can get along with it pretty well.

But I’ve been irritated with my phone, and with companies who have phone numbers with acronyms in them, several times recently, because my phone just isn’t like that. It has a vaguely QWERTY keyboard with one or two letters on each button. The first time it happened, I was supposed to be calling 1-800-MORTGAGE or some such, and I pulled out my cellphone and was paralyzed. Because this is how the letters on my phone look:

If I punched in the letters as they appear on my phone, who knows whom I would’ve called, but it wouldn’t have been the company I intended; I figured that out right away. I actually had to pull up a picture of a standard phone on Google Images, decode the number, and then call. Or I would put calls off until I could get into the office where I had a regular phone. Or I’ve had to sit there and try to recall from misty memory the letters on each number (does ABC start at the 7, or the 1?) on standard phones the likes of which I haven’t had in my home for years. Do you know how hard this is when you’re 40?

Yesterday I was driving around town and KXCI was giving away tickets to some show to the second caller at 622-KXCI. I sighed, unreasonably irritated (since I didn’t care to go to that show, anyway), because if I’d tried to call, I would’ve put my car into a telephone pole, such is the mental focus required for me to translate that into a usable number on my phone. Would it kill them to give the number, too? That used to be pretty standard, as I remember it. But then again, I can’t remember which letters are supposed to be on which numbers on a damned telephone, so I am not a reliable source.



I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “First World Problems

  1. I think the fact that you were able to call phone “numbers” that are words even BEFORE your keyboard went FUBAR is amazing. It takes me forever to do it, and I hate it. And BTW, even if they had said the number instead of the station call letters, I KNOW you would not have “dialed” that number while driving!!!!

  2. i was very sad when my last flip phone committed suicide via toilet and i realized i couldnt get another like it. i had texted so often with it, thati didnt need to look at the buttons. i could send messages by feel alone. touch screens messed that all up.

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