I’m not quite sure when it happened, but I’ve become a complete idiot.

At my wife’s urging, I got a cell phone, an iPhone 4S. No, not the new iPhone 5, this previous model it was cheap plus she had some kind of discount. So she said it was time I was pulled out of the 19th century, or maybe it was the 18th…

Not that I was eager for a cell phone, mind you. But she thought it would add some convenience and level of safety to our lives. She’s had a cell phone for years, so she knows about how they work. She decided, since her Verizon contract was about up, and it was time for a new phone, since she now has a MacBook laptop that she wanted an iPhone to sync up with it. So off she went and came home with two of them.

The thing seems to have all the bells and whistles, though I don’t need that stuff anyway. In fact, I now doubt I need the thing at all. It seems I’m unable to do the simplest task anymore. There was a time when I was very good with computers and their operating systems (OS from here on). I have built working computers from a box of parts which ran great and did exactly what they were supposed to, when and how they should. I even did a little programming – code writing – once.

Those days are apparently long over. I thought I was doing fine when I got the Mac and learned to use the Apple OS, later upgraded from Leopard OS to Snow Leopard OS with little trouble. But this phone? I now have to face the fact that I’m dumber than your average 9 year-old. Yes, I can’t use a cell phone. Oh, I can turn it on, and look at the pretty icons on the screen. Then I can turn it off again. That’s all, folks.

After intense tutoring from the wife, I was able to find the icon for the phone, but could not figure out how to actually make a call. Yes, she could. She used it to call our land line, which rang, I picked it up, spoke with her, hung it up. Oh, yea, woo-hoo and all.

Remember when phones had round dials? They went click-click-click when you turned the dial and released it. Later they had push buttons. Cordless phones did away with that leash. Cool. Then along comes this smart phone. It may be smart, but obviously I’m not. After an hour I could not make a phone call with the blasted thing. Nor could I figure out how to operate any other of the many whoop-de-doos on it. You know those movies where a stone age man is discovered and brought into the modern world? He can’t understand any of the stuff? Yep, That’s me. Guess it’s time to pick up my club and go hunting for wooly mammoths. I sure as hell can’t use this new phone to call them. Come to think of it, they may not have phones, anyway. My kind of beasts, those wooly mammoths.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in At Home in Portland, Personal Opinion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Pffft

  1. I feel your pain, Rick. I don’t own a cell phone, either. Diane has an A&T Go Phone which we only use for trips. Both of my kids have the iPHONE 4S and love it. All of my students have cell phones (which they’re playing on during my lectures). But I consider cell phone mostly time wasters. Unfortunately, credit cards (yes, those plastic rectangles) will be a thing of the past. The smart phone will take the place of credit cards and that’s when I’ll be forced to use one. This is happening in the next 3-5 years.

  2. macavityabc says:

    By now you’ve probably downloaded the Kindle app and started reading books!

  3. Richard says:

    George, I doubt I’ll use mine much, but it’s here and I have it sitting on the back of the nightstand. I haven’t learned my new phone number for it, haven’t made or received a call, haven’t done anything with it. She brought it home a few days ago, charged it and it still has over 80% charge, so you can see I’m using it much.

    Bill, I have the Kindle app on my Mac, but not on the phone. Is there a way to get those books from one to another?

  4. Richard says:

    George, I’m NOT happy about that smart phone replacing credit cards thing, but I doubt it will really happen, or at least that soon. Not everyone can even afford a smart phone, but a credit card, if you qualify and use it wisely, is free.

  5. I know how you feel. I do own a cell, not one bell or whistle, just a basic model that I use for emergencies only. I carry it when out of the house, never turn it on unless I want to make a call, which is almost never, and am quite satisfied.

  6. Carl V. says:

    I resisted the cell phone for a long, long time. Eventually my bosses’ boss insisted I have one when he tried to get in touch with me one day and couldn’t. Now I can hardly imagine living without one. I refuse to spend any hard earned money on this stuff so I had basic equipment until work bought us smart phones. There was a bit of a learning curve but now I’m addicted to the ability to follow my fantasy football team anywhere via my phone, play Words with Friends, text, etc. I understand the pain, but once you master it then it even gets worse because you start depending on it!

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Welcome to the 21st Century! I’m becoming one of those people I hate (slowly) in that whenever the little musical theme plays I have to check the incoming email like one of Pavlov’s dogs. No I don’t text (I can, you understand, but we didn’t pay for texting and I don’t) but I do email on it.

    And I know how to take pictures (I’ve had less success with video) and email them to people.

    Yes, it is easy (well, it was for me so it must be) to transfer your Kindle books to the phone. I don’t know about the iPhone but our Androids have the Kindle app on it so you should be able to figure it out.

    But surely there is nothing complicated about dialing the phone? I don’t understand that.

  8. cgramlich says:


  9. Richard says:

    Now really, Charles, show a little compassion. Or something. I guess that was something.

  10. John says:

    I’m with you on this one, RIck. Soon I will have to upgrade my phone again and I dread it because there are no cell phones that are simply phones anymore. Mine makes calls and has that stupid camera built into it (which I rarely use) but it does nothing else. I like it that way. But I understand that it is a now a dinosaur among the telecommunication marvels we have now. That there are no phones like that anymore. NONE! I will have to get a mini computer that does everything but make me dinner. And I will probably sit on it and end up dialing 911 every two days or so just like my partner does all the time with his “smart” phone. I’m about ready to reinstate our old landline which we got rid of four years ago to save us a wasted $40+ per month since we abandoned it in favor of cell phones. All I want to do I want is a phone to stay in touch with family. I don’t want to be enslaved by a telephone that is really a computer and an extension of one’s personality and seems to have evolved into the electronic security blanket — or worse an electronic umbilical cord — of nearly everyone on the planet. This is progress and I don’t like it one bit.

  11. Richard says:

    John, I’ve so far insisted we keep our land line. It’s part of our phone-internet-cable bundle and we save half the phone bill that way so it’s cheap. Since I don’t know my cell number and have given it to no one but my wife, it’s unlikely to get much use, but I can carry it in case of emergencies. My wife can’t understand why I don’t take to it like some other tech we have (my iMac, for instance).

  12. David Doerrer says:

    Richard, we got a portable phone when we moved back up here so we could keep in touch with the people monitoring Dorothy’s father. Then we moved to a simple cell phone, mostly so Dorothy could keep in touch with me when she was out and about. And that’s where we’ve stopped. She can “text” and does so with our daughters. I’ve told them, “call me or forget it.”


  13. Richard says:

    David, this is my first cell phone, or any phone other than a good ol’ land line. At the moment I have the ringer turned off and it’s sitting in my nightstand drawer. I know that’s not what Barbara intended, and I’ll no doubt take it out and figure out a comfortable way to carry it around when necessary, but necessary is the key word. If this thing had been full price I wouldn’t have stood still for the purchase.

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