Well, it has finally happened.
I have joined the 21st century along with the rest of the cell phone using world. As in I now have a smart phone. Which, as I am learning very quickly, is way smarter than me. At least for now. My daughter and assorted friends are giving me lessons, some tips and tricks to make sure that my phone becomes something I want to use and enjoy as opposed to something that frustrates me to the point of heaving it across the room.
For those of you that didn’t know, for the last several years I have been utilizing a very inexpensive but happily quite durable flip phone. It was so prehistoric it didn’t even have a keyboard, the letters were attached to the numbers so if I wanted to type a ‘C’ I had to hit the 2 button three times, but not three times in rapid succession because that would just mess it up. There was quite an art to texting with my little flip phone and I must admit to some pride in being very fast with my tiny numbers-are-letters keypad. Now I have a large screen that actually gives me some words to choose from when I am only half done typing the one I want – imagine that, I don’t even have to type it all myself.
Of course there is a steep learning curve and if I accidentally call or text you, forgive me, I am just trying to slowly put all my contacts back in. My daughter wanted to just load them all at once but I figure, for me, a little at a time. Don’t overwhelm me. When I call you, I will save your number and add you as a ‘new contact’.
The big trip to the phone store was on June 27, and I was lucky enough to get matched up with Dee, the Retail Store Manager, who patiently answered all my questions and graciously didn’t roll his eyes when I asked about things that any normal person with a cell phone should already know. That’s what comes from having a flip phone for so long, I guess, I kind of feel like I was stuck in the ‘80s technology-wise. Dee had to start from square one and give me a crash course in smart phone usage. He did a good job and my roommate was also there to offer some pointers; she was the one who asked if I wanted to go with her, her son and daughter-in-law to pick up her daughter-in-law’s new phone. And, she suggested, maybe I would like to transfer my stuff to an older smart phone her son had given me. Well, on the way there we discussed it and the phone her son let me have was good two years ago when he first gave it to me … it’s kind of outdated now. When we arrived at the store, masked up and social distancing outside on the sidewalk waiting to enter, it was just the right time. It was time to grow up and stop being scared of a phone. I will learn about it. I will use it. And people can send me photos that I can actually enjoy because they will not be on a 1½ inch by 1½ inch screen.
The flip phone? Well, I am hanging on to it. Not because it makes or receives calls anymore but because there are lots of pictures and text messages I have saved over the years. Humorous texts, photos of the dog, the ocean, a couple of short video clips that evoke good memories, even if they are tiny. My niece cheering at her first Sharks game, my roommate’s granddaughters wishing me a ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ in a coordinated shout out; these are things I want to keep. And since they didn’t really want my phone as a trade in, I can keep it.
So far, I am probably using one-half of one percent of the capabilities of my new phone. I have managed to make a few calls, add a couple of contacts, sent some messages, and my daughter and I are already on each other’s ‘Find My’ app (is it an app?) so she can keep tabs on me and find me at a moment’s notice.
Now just give me a little time and I will be sending emoji’s with the best of them.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.