Friday, May 29, 2009
I am the last man on Earth without a cell phone
Please allow me to introduce myself: I'm a man of wealth and taste. And the last man on Earth without a cell phone.
Or so I thought. Last week, I ran into an old friend at the Watchmen. I asked him if his brother was coming to the movie, and he said, "I don't know, why don't you call him on your cell phone?"
"I'm the last man on Earth without a cell phone!" I said. "Why don't you call him on yours?"
"I don't have one either," he said.
We then walked into the theatre, where 200 kids, age 16 to 21, were talking on their cell phones and sending text messages.
One thing this situation proved: I have a new nemesis in my battle to be the last man on Earth without a cell phone. He must be destroyed! Now that I've got that out of my system...the other thing that this proves is that phones really, really suck these days.
'Member when phones were great?
Last week, I decided to look into getting a cell phone. I barely talk on the phone at all, and when I do, I almost always wish I was doing something else. Like shoving white-hot ingots into my eyes.
I also believe that, 90 per cent of the time, I'm doing something in which I don't want to be reachable. Like having a drink at the bar. Walking home from work. Sleeping. Reading. Watching my stories. Working on my "That's So Raven" fansite. Etc.
However, I also feel that I almost have to get one anyway, because the cell is becoming something that every advertiser needs to understand and use to manipulate "the kids" into buying stuff. And I teach advertising. Which means I should get one. Make sense? Didn't think so...
My search for a cell phone
The slackers sitting inside the MTS made me wary, just like their creepy bison, so I hauled my butt over to the Rogers store, where an initially bored employee came to life as a fountain of knowledge when as explained the different cell phones and their features.
In the old days, you'd just buy a phone, plug it in, get it connected, pay $20 a month, and be done with it. When did phone features become a la carte?
Among the million decisions I now need to make:
Minutes, "weekday minutes, or "anytime" minutes?
You gotta be kidding me: I've got to choose between different kinds of minutes? No matter which you take, there's a set monthly fee and a monthly "system access fee."
Just like the "true coat" paint in Fargo.
As well, there seems to be distinctions about when "evenings" begin; that's when you can make unlimited calls - pity the fool who calls anyone at 5:59 p.m.
When you talk on a cell phone, there's gotta be a lot of pressure: the Doomsday Clock is always ticking away those minutes...tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock...35 cents a minute!
Which five friends would you like to call most?
This one is confusing as hell. The brochure says you have "MY5 Canada wide unlimited long-distance talk." When you read the small print, it says, "long distance extra." Wah?
Which phone would you like?
Phone, smartphone, or BlackBerry? No dumb-ass phone? The BlackBerry looks nice, but...looks like I'll have to pay a higher monthly fee for that one. Which is the one that allows me to take video of myself in the shower and then post it on YouTube? That's the ticket to fame and fortune!
What other stuff would you like?
Internet? Costs extra. Messaging? Extra. Call display? Extra. Voicemail? Extra. Ringtones? See Chris Rock material, above.
So, if I do my math, it's impossible to get a phone that rings with voicemail for less than $50 a month, never mind the cost of the phone itself.
I will likely have a shiny, new cell phone next week. Don't call me, I'll call you.
I'm trying to save those "anytime minutes."