A Cell Phone Saga

OR: Old People Learn New Tricks (maybe)

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to up my game – I ditched my old cell phone and upgraded to a new(er) one. It’s not that my old (and I do mean old) cell phone didn’t work any more. It’s just that it was, well, old. Eight years old, in fact. In the schemes of things technological, that makes it the Homo erectus of cell phones. Capable of doing basic things but don’t expect much.

At least it wasn’t a flip phone. No, I had moved beyond that many years ago. We call flip phones “dumb phones.” Just try to thumb out a text on a dumb phone. No, mine was a little more advanced than that. If today’s cell phones are Ph.D. educated astrophysicists unraveling the mysteries of string theory and Darth Vader, I mean dark matter, well, mine was a high school dropout digging ditches. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ditches come in handy some times.

My husband had received a “Please come back to us” deal too good to refuse from one of Canada’s major telecommunications carriers. We had a burner phone – you know, one of those phones that the movie crims use to negotiate their nefarious deals – that was a lot newer than mine. We bought it to use when we are in the USA, but we haven’t been there for over a year, thanks to COVID, so our time on it had long expired. The Too-Good-A-Deal-To-Refuse offer said I could migrate my existing phone number so I thought, why not put the new SIM card in the burner phone. I would have a new(er) phone and a better plan than my previous one. What’s not to like?

The major telecommunications carrier (MTC) assured us it would be so very easy.

MTC didn’t realize they were dealing with old people.

We put the SIM card in the phone and called the MTC number. The dance began.

I had to call my soon-to-be former carrier and advise them I was cancelling with them. And then explain why I was cancelling (“your lousy plan cost more,” I said). Back to the helpful young MTC man who wanted to know my former account number. Back to the soon-to-be former carrier and ask for the account number. Back to MTC. “Text this code to this number,” the helpful young MTC man said. I did. “And now this one,” he said. I did.

“You should be up and running,” he said. I called our home number. It rang. Good. I called up the installed browser, my e-mail. All fine and dandy. Yippee! New phone.

Not so fast.

Next day, I arrived well ahead of a scheduled appointment. No problem, I thought. I will just sit here and surf the internet.

Oops, no internet connection. WTF!

I punched on-screen icons. I lost myself in a maze of menu threads. I stood outside the car. I held the phone in various positions. Nothing. Nada. Diddley-squat.

But, but, it worked at home so why not here in the middle of a parking lot? Oh, darn, WiFi was enabled. I had been doing everything at home via our home WiFi! I said various words not to be repeated here.

Once home, I called MTC. Another helpful young MTC man led me through a maze of menus to something called APN. Don’t ask me what APN means. Or why it exists. Or why it needs a code. But it was code-less, causing APN to fly into a fit and refuse me access to the internet. The helpful young MTC man gave me a code, APN was happy, and I was on-line. Sans household WiFi.

It took only two days and about three hours on the part of two exceedingly patient helpful young MTC men to accomplish this “quick and easy” task. Sigh. Being old is such a joy.

In another eight years, maybe I will upgrade again.

#CellPhoneSaga #ModernTechnology #OnBeingOld #Acronyms #MargaretGHanna

4 thoughts on “A Cell Phone Saga

  1. An “enjoyable” tale Margaret, at our age we’ve all been there! But, I know that it’s NOT an age thing, it’s about familiarity breeding contempt as the saying goes where there’s a wide range of industries and corporations with their own lexicon. They have this expectation that we all know their specialist terms and the processes for setting up different pieces of technology. I’m fairly savvy with such things but have had my own troubles with a new smart tv, changing our main phone line provider, as well as changing our mobile service but not the phones. In the case of changing our phone line provider they actually changed the number but didn’t tell us and we didn’t discover it for a week!


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