It used to be you knew I was about to make a phone call from the creaking of my cell phone flipping open. A couple of buttons pushed, a cloud of dust and I was off. I lived in the Iron Age of crappy camera phones – after the Stone Ages of the Zack Morris phone and the Bronze Ages of phones you could actually carry around – I was obsolete and obstinate about it.
“Look at these kids,” I would say sternly, “with their photo cameras and their video camcorders and their interwebs and ‘apps’ and music all on the one phone! If I want a camera, I’ll buy a camera! If I want interwebs, I’ll steal it with my laptop! If I want apps I’ll have to figure out what the hell they are first! Music?! I’ll show you music; where’s my gramophone?” and on and on.
I may as well have been typing those words out on an old-fashioned black Remington typewriter from a cabin somewhere.
Well things have since changed.
For the last couple of months, I’ve grown tired of lugging my laptop to coffee shops and restaurants every time I wanted to hop on the interwebs. I’ve refused to get the whole cable/internet thing that everyone seems to have because I am (a) lazy, (b) prone to wasting huge amounts of time watching cable cooking shows, and (c) cheap with regards to my own personal living situation. So off I would run to Caribou to check email and do various other things one can’t do without an internet connection.
Meanwhile, my girlfriend had an upgrade available to her cellphone and she wanted to go check out what phones were available to her. She had been begging me for years to trade in my hopelessly obsolete phone for something less ancient. Despite this peer pressure I tagged along anyway, planning to scoff at the ridiculousness of these all-in-one pieces of technological tomfoolery.
As the sales guy was taking us through the different phones and various features, I heard a couple of words that shattered my façade of indignantly backwards resistance: “Free mobile hotspot.”
Free mobile hotspot?! My ears perked up. Like Caribou? But on a phone? You mean there’s a magical device out there that you can hold in your hand that makes phone calls AND it allows your laptop to jump on the internet anytime you want to without lugging everything to a coffee house and they aren’t going to charge me extra for it?!
Friends, it’s true. Such a device exists. I did not cave right there on the spot and demand that the sales guy sell me one immediately. My pride would not let me. I had fought so hard to stay in that world where phones make phone calls and that’s all there is to it.
But over the next few days those words – Free Mobile Hotspot – kept popping up more and more in my consciousness. I began researching the phone. Then fantasizing about the phone. Then obsessing about the phone. Until finally, over a month later, I caved in.
E voila, Wunderphone was born.
I’ve only had the thing for a little over a week, but already I’m addicted. I can check sports scores any time I want! I can take pictures and they aren’t incredibly crappy! What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow? I don’t know. Phone, what do you think? I can read email as they come in and subsequently ignore it right away. Next time someone passes along a “fact” that may or may not be true, I can check it right there. Immediately.
In short, I am becoming irritating. And quickly too. The same woman who urged me to replace my old phone must contend with Wunderphone for time and attention. I am not proud of this. It is simply the way things are now.
I have not yet joined twitter. Old reticent xenophobic type-writer-using me is holding on to that very last shred of dignity. He’s trying to hold out for as long as he can. How long, though, before the siren call of sharing every banal moment of my life takes hold?
Wunderphone is calling me. I have to go now.