I’ve upgraded my mobile phone and as a result I feel upgraded as a person.
I’m not really into gadgets because I’m too lazy to learn how to use them. So I have adopted a counter-cultural point of view, to protect myself: by pretending that I don’t care about the make and model of my roaming dog and bone, I’m not in danger of getting it wrong.
Nevertheless, I would rather be found dead- with a hands-free cord around my neck- than own a pink one, revealing that, deep down, I do believe you are what you dial.
18 months ago I signed up with ‘T-Mobile’, only to discover (passed the date you are allowed to discover things) that there is no reception for it in my flat, unless I lean out of one of the windows. Shouting.
I hoped to intimidate a pimply youth when reasoning for a cessation of the contract but as you press ‘5’ for wanting to leave the company, you get connected with their hostage negotiators.
These people dig so far into your psyche that even if you argue like a barrister on Death Row they are absolutely not ever going to release you, ever, ever. Plus now they know you wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs.
So when I received a rival network call from out of the blue telling me my contract was up for renewal, I was pre-disposed to listen. I was going to take out a revenge contract even if it only had reception in a Cirencester tea-pot, just so I could tell the mean ‘T-mobile’ muppets.
And that’s what I did.
Quite a bizarre process it turned out to be too.
When I asked how the poachers knew my time was coming up there was all manner of fumbling and mumbling and fake interference noises. Amongst the babble I caught the word ‘database’ but it was clear to me a private dic was on board.
The plot thickened as they slithered out of my request to have something through the mail to look at, saying all business was conducted over the air-waves. I tried to be suspicious and responsible the first 20 times they called but in the end capitulated and gave them my soul.
‘Who was that?’
‘A go-between agency for a new mobile network I’ve signed up for’.
‘What’s the name of it?’
‘The agency or the network?
‘I don’t know.’
‘You didn’t give them your credit card details, did you?’
‘Yes. And my national insurance number and porn-star name.’
‘Are you stupid?’
‘No, but all the operators are very cheerful and have Welsh accents.’
‘Phew, thank God for that.’
When they asked me which model I wanted, I positioned myself as a refreshingly relaxed client, with just a few stipulations: it should be about the size of the recommended portion for a tuna steak, in case I don’t have a deck of cards handy, for the purposes of measuring; I won’t need to take wacky photographs of myself wigging out at concerts; and I don’t need to know when someone leaves the Big Brother house, as I indulge in the thinking man’s reality T.V. instead: blogs.
Of course, I did take a little look on the web to check out my allocation wasn’t pink and I have to tell you, I liked what I saw. So much so, I even clicked to see it from different angles, including the slide that opens the phone out.
On its arrival it didn’t take long for the new gadget headache to clear and I was already starting to feel self-important. There was something about its weighty hand-feel; the illuminated green, red and blue Simon Says answering icons; the calming ring-tone, with bells and bing-bong noises, that sound like a B.A. ad targeted at babies. I felt a new status coming over me.
Suddenly my trusty old handset looked like a toy phone- brash and tacky and incapable of serious communication. I realized how incomplete I had felt with it. It gave me the cringe.
So here sits my new Nokia. It’s not a Crackberry but it has somehow validated me a-new.
I should now be officially let into club-class lounges. People might mistake me for a movie star agent, in L.A. I could be remotely authorizing the purchase of a Monet at a Sotheby’s auction.
‘3‘ may well be voted the most unpopular network by some non-believers but not by me.
Yes, goddamit, I will take that call.