Sorry, I Think You Have the Wrong Number

Many years ago, about 1980, my husband was issued a mobile phone for his work as Director of Security and Chief of Police for a university in Texas.  It was a huge thing,  the size of a brick and about as heavy.  He wore both his gun and his phone in separate holsters, but it was never a concern that he would reach for the wrong one because, as long as he wasn’t standing too far from a bad guy, he could bean him with the phone and drop him flat in no time.

As the years progressed, the phones got gradually smaller.  However, we as a family did not own any mobile phones of our own.  They were expensive and we were of the mind that we would rather not be so easily accessible.  People, including some family members, laughed at us for being old-fashioned and admonished us that we shouldn’t be so hard to reach.  After all, they said, you never know when an emergency would arrive.  Finally heeding their advice, I purchased my very first mobile phone nearly fifteen years ago.

Every two years, like clockwork, I would get a call from our mobile phone service provider, reminding me that I was eligible for a new phone and offering me many great updates.  Time after time I told them my phone worked fine and I didn’t need any of those other things they were offering.  “You mean, all you want your phone for is to make and receive calls?” they asked, incredulous.  I did get a little updated a couple of years ago when my granddaughter turned 13 and got her first phone.  I got a new phone with a slide-out keyboard and added a texting package.

Lately, though, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a smart phone.  My husband has one because of his job, and it looks like it might be fun.  No, I don’t really need one.  I’m home so much, or I’m out with my husband who has one, but I think I just want one.  Which one to buy, if I go through with it, is the dilemma.  My daughter has one of those big Galaxy phones.  It has all the bells and whistles, and I love the screen size, but at my age, the learning curve makes me think that I won’t be able to master it without a great deal of one-on-one tutoring from my daughter who lives too far away.  So I was thinking about getting an iPhone because I’ve been a Mac user for years, and the interface won’t be confusing.  With this thought in mind, I was eager to see how my friend Linda who just left yesterday after a five-day visit, liked her new iPhone, the first smart phone she has ever owned.   We both have iPads which look just like the home page of the iPhone, so you would think it would be a breeze to figure out.

In the car, on the way home from picking her up from the airport, we heard music.  This went on for a little while before I asked what the music was.  “Don’t you have the radio on?” Linda asked.  When I assured her I didn’t, I suggested she might want to check her phone.  Sure enough, someone had been calling her.  Throughout the other five days of our visit, she would look around dazed at strange sounds, checking her phone constantly, trying to turn off buzzers and reminders and alarms, figuring out how to reply to messages or answer calls.  I was exhausted just watching her.  I’m starting to rethink this smart phone thing.  I believe the smart thing to do would be to stay away from one.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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29 Responses to Sorry, I Think You Have the Wrong Number

  1. Jiawei says:

    I think I top the list of being old-fashioned. The entire time I lived in the States my husband and I didn’t have a phone, any phone! I got my first cheap phone for less than US$50 when we moved to Shanghai three years ago, good enough for me to call and text, no other features, not even a screen. The funny thing is I always try to hide my pathetic looking phone, when I am with other ladies with the fancy kind, the vain side of me lurking around constantly. But so far, I haven’t hopped to the dark side yet.

    • Coming East says:

      Amazing, Jiawei! I can’t fathom how you functioned without any phone at all. But since you did quite well, you are proof that some things we think we can’t live without really aren’t that necessary.

  2. Margie says:

    My son-in-law gave me his old iPhone when he bought a nice new one. It is my first smart phone and I have had no trouble using it because it works just like my iPad… I don’t actually use it much as a phone, but I have a list on it of books I’ve already read, so it is very handy when I am at the library.

  3. Robin says:

    lol! My husband I put off having a mobile phone until our oldest granddaughter was born (8 years ago). We were going be across the country in California when she was due and wanted to be informed as soon as possible when she was born. Today I got my first new replacement phone, one with a QWERTY keyboard, because my oldest granddaughter got her first cell phone for her birthday and I’m tired of trying to text with the usual numeric keypad. I got exhausted looking at the directions for the phone so I haven’t activated it yet.

    • Coming East says:

      Now that’s funny, Robin! With what you can do with a camera, you should have no trouble with that new phone. Activate that thing!

      • Robin says:

        You would be so proud, Susan. I not only activated it, but I’m sending texts like an old pro on that keyboard. I just wish someone would type back in all my contacts for me. I spent a few hours at it last night, but only got half way. My head is swimming with phone numbers.

      • Coming East says:

        Gosh, Robin, I thought the phone store transfers your contacts when you buy a new phone. That’s what they did for me…I think.

  4. pattisj says:

    I’m very happy with my iPhone. I use it for all kinds of things; it comes in really handy on the road.

  5. Oh, how I commiserate with you on this one. Those smart phones are just too way over the top for me. Hubby and I finally got new phones recently. He traded in his old flip phone for one with a slide out keyboard. I had to get a new one because my old one (which worked fine) committed suicide in my cup of hot tea.

    You would have thought we were aliens from another planet (or should I say cavemen somehow transported into the future) when we told the rep we didn’t want smart phones! We finally convinced her that we were dinosaurs and all we use our phones for is to send and receive calls and occasionally text our kids. And guess what, even my ‘new’ phone as ‘un’smart as it is, is giving me all kinds of problems. My patience with all this new technology is at its end!

    • Coming East says:

      My husband has to have a smart phone for his job, but I think he would have one even if he didn’t have to, Mama. I think I would like to play with it for a little while and then I would get tired of it. That doesn’t warrant the expensive price tag for the phone or the service. I think I will hold off awhile.

  6. winsomebella says:

    The only complaint I have about my iPhone is it has not shared any of its smarts with me :-). Go for it, Susan!

  7. Al says:

    Good morning, Susan Okaty. This is Al’s phone. I understand you are interested in a smartphone. How did I know? Hey, I’m a smart phone. Duh. Anyway, I have a friend that is interested in being adopted. His name is Hal 9000. He was given up for adoption because of some silly incident 12 years ago. Would you like to meet him?

    • Coming East says:

      Hello, Al’s phone. If your friend is not good enough for Al, then he’s not good enough for me. I’m waiting for one of the new transporter phones that is sure to come out in a few years.

  8. Ten or so years ago, I ‘finally’ traded my old (size of a brick) cell phone for a new ‘flip phone’; the nice young man in the Telus store called everyone over to take a look at my ‘antique’ – none of them had ever seen one that old (no, I’m not kidding – I’d had it since the mid 90s). I still have the flip phone and I keep it my purse for emergencies (I pay $22.10 for maybe 2 or 3 minutes of use each month; I haven’t charged it in over a year but it still displays ‘battery full’). I get regular emails urging me to update to a ‘smart phone’ but I simply don’t see the need. I have a computer for internet access and (FREE) email connectivity, a land line (and, I suppose, my trusty cellphone) for phone calls, and I watch TV on my (wait for it …) TV. What ‘benefit’ do these new smart phones really provide? And they cost a fortune. I’ll be sticking with my latest ‘antique’ (it suits me) for a long time yet!

    • Coming East says:

      Loved your comment, Margo. Made me laugh. Good for you! We still have a land line, too. I think many people are doing away with them, but I don’t see that happening with us.

  9. Huffygirl says:

    I’m sure you could figure it out Susan. After all, our kids use them and we are at least as smart as they are.

    When our son first moved back home with us, he had a smart phone and we didn’t . One day my husband kept hearing a beep that wouldn’t stop, so he started checking the batteries in all the smoke detectors. Changing all the batteries did not help. He was driving himself crazy trying to figure out which one was still beeping, until I came home and gently told him it was our son’s phone.

  10. dorannrule says:

    I am still in the flip phone mode and haven’t even started with texting. My learning curve is pretty much flat. Great post! 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      The reason I started texting is because of my granddaughter, Dor. Plus my children like to text me. My boys don’t have smart phones yet, so I don’t feel like too much of a Luddite.

  11. I answered a phone text asking if I wanted to be alerted when AMBER alerts go out. “Sure,” I thought. omg twice already I’ve heard such an alarm, you would think it was a tornado drill in school. Surely, it won’t sound off if the phone is turned off, but when I do turn it on, I don’t want that sounding at the very minute I need to use it. I don’t know how to remove it, nor does Rick, and I’m afraid it’s going to go off in class or in the office. It positively makes you jump. I’ve got to go by the VZ store and see how to disable it,. I leave my phone in the car now. Good luck with those alarms, bells and whistles. 🙂

  12. Dianna says:

    My husband still uses a flip phone, and it works perfectly for him. Recently, it broke at the hinge. Do you know that you’re unable to purchase a flip phone at the Verizon store? They must be ordered online….I really hope they don’t stop making them. All he wants it to make and receive calls and occasionally take a picture!

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