Dorian has deserted us for a couple of weeks to go visit with her parents in New Orleans. So, she asked me to cover for her and here I am.  I’ve dabbled in novel-writing, am accomplished in short story writing and enjoy writing articles,  but thought I’d share my latest column with you in hopes you can relate–Nancy Q.

At the urging (constant urging is more accurate) of my spouse, I’ve retired my duct-taped, red, Nokia phone with the 500-minute plan for a Samsung Infuse that is smarter than I am and costs twice as much per month as the old one since it requires data plans and message plans and all sorts of things my simple flip-and-dial did not. It’s also not nearly so convenient to carry. No pockets for this thing, it requires Samsonite luggage of its own.

In the first two minutes of use, I reached out and touched someone in a country I can’t pronounce and I was just trying to turn it on. I thought if I could find my daughter’s number in my contacts, she could tell me how to use the darned thing, especially since she really IS smarter than I am about these things. I’m a read-the-manual type person, but phones no longer come with manuals, they come with web addresses for forty-minute tutorials. Who has forty whole minutes?

Although I followed the colorful QUICK START page, my phone was not activated, so I called the number provided. That produced some good and not so good results. The phone, after fifteen minutes of “please hold while I check this,” was finally activated and told me so via a free text message that made it jump off the desk and onto the floor. Good thing I’d bought that pretty blue protective cover.

But the phone company could not explain what had happened to more than two thousand roll over minutes, though they could see that we had minutes rolling over at one time, we just don’t have them now.  I kept asking where they’d gone and the answer was, “you don’t have them anymore.” The young lady assisting me pointed out that since I didn’t have roll over minutes anymore, the plan I had for the old phones would certainly not be enough so I added some more minutes. And some more costs.

Not to be bested by something this size,  I have figured out how to place a call, find a number in my contacts, and sometimes even end a call successfully. It has Wi-Fi built-in, but I’m terrified I’ll end up with a million dollar phone bill because my Wi-Fi went roaming, so I turn the phone off completely when I’m not using it. Now I don’t get my calls at all. Not entirely a bad thing, though.

My emails ding when the phone is on, but I can’t answer them because when I type a reply on that teeny-tiny keyboard, my smart phone changes what I type into something else that is either not fit for print or is total gibberish. “I’ll be there” turned into “I behemoth.” Just what I need–a smart-alec phone: a teeny-tiny computerized wise guy.

If I’m unfortunate enough to be retyping the gibberish when an incoming call occurs, it’s all over. The email disappears and the phone call shows up. And, one must understand that you can’t press the “accept” button on the screen, one must SWIPE the button to the right. I’m not sure what happens if one swipes left. When I tried that on a call that was not complicated by an email, my right index finger tapped the power button and the call went away.

I’m not so old I can’t learn this. And I’ve decided to look at that forty minute video as an investment in my future. I’ll pour a glass of wine, cut up some cheese and then sit back and learn how to use my smart-alec phone. If that fails, I’ll ask Dorian to tutor me.

And then I’ll start tracking down what happened to my roll over minutes. They have to be around here somewhere.

About NL Quatrano

Author of Murder in Black and White, Still Shot, Merciful Blessings, Keeping Faith, Always Chasing 'Em, and numerous published short stories. Award-winning author, speaker, editor, and ghostwriter, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing, and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Authors Guild, Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, Florida Author and Publishers Assoc, Independent Book Publishers Assoc., and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014. View all posts by NL Quatrano

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