Monday, February 25, 2013

My cherished old phone has to ring the changes

 Yesterday, the world’s fastest mobile phone was unveiled in Barcelona. The Mobile World Congress, where techno-nerds from every country have assembled en masse to worship at the collective altars of Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and Apple, is as close to the seventh circle of hell as an event gets in my book. I’ve had the same mobile phone for nine and a half years. The chrome frame has fallen off and there’s a bank of Araldite around the keypad, where I’ve repeatedly tried to glue it back together, so thick that I can only now punch out a number if a second party holds the appliance together for me. On the back is a Homer Simpson-shaped patch where a sticker used to be, which has collected lint, dust and other miscellaneous substances over the years, and the phone has been dropped so many times that the screen no longer shows anything but the time, which is wrong. It’s in many ways a disgusting object, but it works, and the idea of buying a new one fills me with dread.

Still, this antique is causing an increasing number of problems in my social life – and marriage. My friends are as technologically promiscuous as my husband, who changes his phone and BlackBerry whenever a lighter, prettier, slicker model gives him the eye. Knowing how upsetting he finds the sight of my heap of rubble, I try to keep the phone hidden as much as possible. Placing it on the restaurant table alongside other diners’ state-of-the-art appliances was banned years ago.

The other day, however, when I asked him to hold the various pieces of it together while I punched out a text, my husband’s patience finally gave way. “I can’t look at it any more,” he whimpered. “For pity’s sake, just go to the Carphone Warehouse and get a new one. Your service provider will give you one free – they’ll give you 10 free.”

The words “service provider” and “Carphone Warehouse” give me the chills. I’ve tried to trade in the phone at various points over the past decade, only to find myself backing out of the shop when some jaunty young man named Tariq (they’re always called Tariq), wearing a primary-coloured synthetic nylon shirt, starts bombarding me with techno jargon like “Bluetooth” and “data connections”.

I don’t need my phone to run me a hot bath, record my favourite TV shows or remind me when to give the baby her next bottle. I don’t want it to be transparent – like another new phone unveiled in the US last week, which promises to be on the market in less than a year – and I’d rather it were a battery-powered Eighties brick than a thumbnail-sized gizmo I have to stroke to get anywhere with. Plus, as with dentists, dermatologists and hairdressers, there comes a point when it’s just too late. When the prospect of dealing with the abuse you’re bound to get for neglecting your responsibilities as long as you have makes confronting the problem even harder. is one of the best websites to purchase cheap and affordable mobile phone.

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