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I need a new phone. Or do I?

Submitted by on Thursday, 11 August 2011 No Comment

Twenty-nine months after it came into my life, the relationship is ending.

I’d hoped to eek another few months out of it my 2009 Blackberry, even though I’ve been eligible for an upgrade since the beginning of the year. Budget-wise, I was bent on lasting until after Christmas. Tech-wise I’d hoped to make it past Halloween, when major brands are supposed to release new models that would make whatever I bought in the summer instantly outdated and set off waves of gadget lust.

The phone had other ideas, though. It’s been dying a slow, sputtering death for months, reaching¬† the point where it’s useful only as a paper weight or alarm clock – and that’s if I position it oh-so-carefully, making sure it stays in contact with the charger.

I can’t answer calls, though I can still make them. It would be control-freak nirvana if it weren’t so frustrating. I can’t read emails, and I can respond to texts only sporadically. Then it started crashing on Facebook and taking literally hours to reboot. A phone that can’t Facebook is dead to me.

I’d been preparing my husband for months that last rites were imminent. Even he got choked up when I mentioned the cost. “Why don’t you just get one like mine,” he said, pointing to his dumb phone that will make calls, take pictures, send texts and that’s about it. Come to think of it, that’s more than my smart phone will do at the moment. “That’s all you need.”

Technically speaking, I don’t need a cell phone at all. Oh, I tell myself that I do, but none of the reasons holds up under cold glare of reason. Roadside emergencies? I’ve never, ever used it for one. School emergencies? Maybe when my husband was deployed, but now that he’s back there’s always a parent within seven digits.

In fact, the only time I’ve used the phone for any emergency at all was when we fled the house during a gas leak and I needed to call 911. I just as easily could have used the old-fashioned method – knock on a neighbor’s door and ask them to call the fire department.

So if I’m going to get something I don’t need, it’s dang sure going to be of the variety that I want. In my mind, that makes a smart phone a “need.” What was that line from “The Big Chill” about rationalizations being more important than sex? “Ever gone a week without a rationalization?”

I don’t want a phone, but I need another computer. Please don’t remind me of how many computers we already have in the house.

I need a computer in my purse. I need to be able to access my electronic calendar no matter where I am. I need to know if I have an email from work. I need to be able to capture those precious, routine moments of the guys’ lives on the rare occasions when I’m not toting 70 pounds of camera gear. I need a watch.

I need to know by how much the Reds lost. Sometimes I even need to listen to them do it. I need to know who won the weekend’s race on the rare occasions when an unfeeling spouse forces me away out of the house on a Sunday.

I suppose I could wait until I get to a computer to check, or even - gasp! – hold off until “Sports Center” comes on. But where’s the instant gratification in that?

See how that works? A “want” that I don’t “need” has become a “need.” I’m almost as slick as Boots was the time he told me that he “needs” a phone so he can call for help when he’s lost in the desert.

Nice try, my love, but you’d never be able to get enough signal to call. Maybe you could find your way back with the phone’s GPS, though.

Hmm … Maybe he does “need” a phone, too.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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