Just over a year ago my phone decided to spontaneously combust.
Up until that point it had been a functional but nonetheless unglamorous model of smart phone. It was the best one I’d ever owned, but significantly less good than the phones most other people seemed to own. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve never really got on board with the whole digital revolution so I’ve generally gone down the ‘budget’ route when it comes to mobile technology.
Still it was light years ahead of the phone that Mrs Proclaims had, which was one of those phones that was, well, really just a phone. I mean you could text with it as well but not much else. If I was not a fan of digital media, then Mrs Proclaims might actually have been a little bit afraid of it all. She’s still not entirely sure what an ‘app’ is to this day.
Don’t judge her though – she knows an awful lot about eighteenth and nineteenth century French literature.
Which is rarely useful (but quite impressive?).
Also her phone never set fire to itself.
Which mine did.
Fire, it turns out, does not agree with technology.
I sent it off to be repaired.
I was told this would take four days.
It took, instead, four weeks for me to be told that my mobile operator couldn’t actually fix it, and another four weeks for them to send me a replacement.
Admittedly things might have been a little quicker had my mobile operator not insisted on trying to contact me via the very phone they were charged with repairing.
This ‘phoneless period’ irritatingly covered the entire Christmas break, and actually a significant few weeks before that when I was attempting to get a new and better job. It’s didn’t impede me too much though and I got the job, which meant for a fairly pleasant Christmas even without the means to communicate with people (other than using email, the postal service and, in extreme circumstances, the perfectly functional landline that was and still is, available to me).
I still do that job to this day.
Which given that I got the job a year ago probably isn’t that surprising.
Anyway by the time my replacement phone arrived, I’d gotten pretty used to not having a mobile. So when it turned out that the replacement model that I was sent was also faulty, in that it kept turning itself off all of the time, I found I could live with it. It was a bit annoying but less worrying than the incendiary nature of its predecessor.
It tended to stay on long enough for me to know when someone was trying to contact me, and after having just ‘survived’ for two months without a smartphone at all, I found that that was more than enough for my needs.
Then Mrs Proclaims decided that she needed to move out of the dark ages (which, if we’re honest, in phone terms was only about ten years ago) and avail herself of the benefits of a smartphone.
Annoyingly she got herself a better one than mine.
Admittedly she would have had her work cut out to find a worse one.
To this day Mrs Proclaims is still getting to grips with the digital world so there was really no need for me to be jealous of her having a better phone than me. Particularly as I was barely using mine.
But jealous I was.
And suddenly I found that even though I hardly used my phone anymore, I really wanted a new and better one. And thanks to the job that I got earlier in this story, I realised that I could probably afford one too.
Alas, such is the way with phone contracts, I still had time to serve on my existing contract before I was eligible for the elusive upgrade.
So instead I bought a new car.
That probably sounds like I’m showing off a bit.
Which maybe I am, but we should probably put my old car into context here.
If my phone was less than desirable, then my old car was really not much to write home about either.
Indeed, it was barely fit to drive home in.
In the end the part-exchange deal I got for it was less than I’d have got had I been attempting to exchange my rubbish phone instead. It barely paid for a tank of petrol in my new car.
My new car, while nothing ostentatious, was a significant upgrade on the old one and came complete with loads of things which seemed really flash to me, but apparently haven’t actually been anything out of the ordinary for many people for quite some time.
Like remote central-locking and electric windows.
It did come with a cool ‘infotainment’ system though, which meant it could hook it up to my mobile device (via ‘Blue Tooth’ of all things…) and do loads of cool stuff.
Which would be awesome, I suppose, if my mobile phone was capable of staying turned on for any length of time.
What my new car meant more than anything, though, was that I could finally drive home and see my parents without a likely and prolonged stop off in Membury Services, waiting for the RAC, which had been a feature of previous journeys.
And drive to see them I did, in mid-December. I had a tranquil journey there and back despite an orange light appearing on my dashboard, an hour into the drive, hinting that I needed to check the tyre pressure. The tyre pressure was fine as it turned out so it seems that my new car is perhaps a little overcautious, but that is a welcome change after the reckless nature of its predecessor (which didn’t even have a tyre pressure warning light apparently and used to let me drive around for weeks on deflated tyres without a care in the world).
After a brief but pleasant stay with my family I returned to the town of Reading, but, alas without the protagonist of the post, my less than reliable mobile phone.
For some reason I’d managed to depart without it.
My sister helpfully posted it back to me but alas it did not arrive in time for Christmas, and so for a second consecutive festive break I was without a mobile phone.
And indeed I am still without that particular phone because unfortunately, several weeks on, the postman has yet to deliver it.
A few promising packages have arrived, but unfortunately I’m a prolific online shopper and every one of those packages has been something else.
A second digital detox following on from a year of barely using my smart phone has not been too onerous, but there are, nonetheless, times, when I have missed having a mobile phone.
Not least because I really want to try out my new car’s ‘infotainment’ system (if for no other reason than to work out what the word ‘infotainment’ actually means…)
But they can also be useful for communicating with people.
Or at least being communicated with.
Most of my acquaintances would acknowledge that even when equipped with an appropriate device, I’m not the best at replying to messages.
But I still like getting them from time to time.
And last week I was starting to get a bit worried, because it seems a realistic possibility that my phone has been lost to the British postal system forever.
But fortunately, on Friday, the postman delivered something else.
From my mobile phone provider.
Offering me an early upgrade.
Now although this was less a gesture of benevolence and more an attempt to get me locked in to another 24-month contract before I do something pro-active like shopping around for another provider, it did seem like quite a timely promotion.
I called them from my landline, for, as previously mentioned, I do have such a device should anyone ever actually need to get hold of me.
Although I don’t answer that very much either.
And the answerphone has broken on it.
But it’s still good for making outgoing phone calls.
And I did just that.
My mobile operator agreed to a shiny new phone and it was delivered the very next day.
I’m holding it in my hand now (well I put it down to type this, but I was holding it and I will hold it again in a moment).
It’s not the best model on the market, but it’s definitely in the ‘desirable’ category.
It’s actually a brand name that people have heard of for one thing.
Indeed, it’s the same brand as the phone Mrs Proclaims acquired a few months ago.
But with one key difference.
It’s the next model up in the range.
Karma has been restored to my universe.
Once again I have a better phone than my technophobic wife, which is how things should be.
Only since the last time that was the case, we both now have phones that mean we too are part of the digital age (like everyone else in our generation has been since it began).
Now all we have to do is learn how to use them.
PS. If you know me outside of the blogosphere and you’ve been trying to contact me over the last few weeks, hopefully the above explains why I haven’t responded. I can once again be contacted and my number remains the same as it was, although because my old phone is still in transit somewhere I’ve almost certainly lost your number, so make sure you let me know who you are if you send me a text.