Don’t judge me here, though. I’m sure you’re thinking I’m the type who always has to have the latest gadget and equipment. It’s with perverse pleasure that I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. The sad fact is that this was actually my first upgrade since 2009 in the cell phone world, and lest you think I’ve joined the Smart-phone, Android or other craze, I’d like to brag that I haven’t. As hard as it might be to believe, I have used nothing but the simplest ten-dollar TracFone since June 2009 when I realized on a very short trip to New York City that I had in fact left my Verizon phone at the airport in Indianapolis and would be lost without at least something that would allow me to communicate while in the big city.
So I bought a ten-dolalr TracFone—the cheapest I could find—and I’ve learned to love it. I may even miss it a little now that I’ve “upgraded.” The phone I had been using since 2009 was just the most basic of all phones: no camera, no GPS, internet capability or fun and games. But without knowing what I was missing, and knowing I didn’t want to spend a penny on something else, I learned to live with it. It’s possible, you know.
Well, I guess what finally did it for me was the realization that not only did my thirteen-year-old have a “really cool” cell phone like, oh, say, 100 percent of his friends and classmates, but now, relenting to my tem-year-old’s ardent pleas, she too would be lapping me in the technological realm of life.
So we went with a fifty-dollar TracFone for her—not real pricey in the scheme of things—but forty dollars more than I had ever spent on a phone! That’s when it hit me. I went home and did some research on-line and found the same phone she had for thirty-five dollars at a different store and immediately ran out and got it like some consumer-crazed junkie.
Now here’s the thing. I’ve appeased my guilt at being said crazed consumer by again purchasing a very low-end cell phone at a very reasonable price.
Now here’s the part that will probably really just render me irrelevant and even sad in a strange way. As low-tech as this cheap thing is, it takes pictures, can get the internet, can access e-mail, and even “recognize” handwriting (though not very well). And in spite of all the teasing by that thirteen-year-old who regularly called my old phone a “worthless brick” I carried around, I feel like I’ve arrived and can now do all the cool stuff, too, just like my daughter.
Then I had probably the best revelation of the whole experience. By buying hers only hours before mine, my new phone comes with not an impossible-to-comprehend non-user friendly manual, but an extremely chatty and excited little girl who is more than happy to be my techno tutor as we share in this new experience together. And come to think of it, maybe that is the best bargain of all. I feel like I got a real bang for my thirty-five dollars in that normally you can’t buy that kind of bonding experience with a pre-teen. Now I’ll have to convince her to call me sometime!