Sunday, October 01, 2006

Digital Decisions

Wouldn't you know it: I'm not eligible for my New Every Two phone discount (including the two months of "early" grace they offer with this program) until five weeks from now, just enough time to have to live through one of my densest travel schedules without an upgrade.

The untimely re-up wouldn't be a big deal if my phone wasn't misbehaving and I wasn't so attached to the You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman ring song I long ago downloaded (read all about this humiliating experience in the TwinkleGram's 10/20/05 archived edition -- bottom of the page) and assigned to my husband's incoming calls. I don' t know if those Important Extras transfer to new phones, or when, in a dying last gasp, my current fading phone might simply go silent, never to affirm me again.

You might not consider the soulful belting out/ringing/singing of Natural Woman very businesslike, but it's only assigned to My Man (Mr. Retired) who doesn't call very often because he patiently waits to hear from me. I call to let him know I've arrived, or that I'm waiting for my food, I am well, I think I’m catching a cold, the plane is delayed, or on time, I feel crabby, I just noticed a sweet scene in the airport, the meeting was great or lacking, I'm back in my hotel room, made it through the security check point, waiting for my luggage, locked out of my car, wishing he were here, out at the curb, looking down the circular drive in front of the airport, waiting for my prince to arrive in his carriage to welcome and whisk me home again.

Hearing that song belt out of my handbag or pocket, knowing who's on the other end before I even look at the caller ID, is a great reminder that yes, I am a natural woman, even though when I'm on the road I often feel more like an unnatural disaster.

But back to my phone dilemma. One of my phone’s problems is that if I'm traveling in Verizon’s "extended networks," which I often am, the original-equipment battery will no longer hold a charge throughout an entire day. Why it uses more battery juice in extended networks I don’t know. Perhaps because it (whatever makes a cell phone work) has to . . . extend so far?

Too bad I recently lost my spendy backup battery, ey? And sure, I can replace the tired battery, but I'm only FIVE WEEKS away from not having to do that. But sadly, a good part of the time my "portable"--HA!--phone now forces me to leash myself to a wall or car socket. Not handy, especially when all of YOU are already hogging all the airport/coffee shop/anywhere sockets. (Feel free to explain yourselves in the comment section.)

Another "issue" with my phone: missing parts. It’s missing parts because I've dropped it so many times. Never on a soft carpet, of course, and once in a toilet (don’t ask) and several times during failed attempts to retrieve it I’ve had to kick it out from under here and there. But it's still basically WORKING, so do I really want to hurry up and get rid of a phone that keeps on calling after taking so many fallings?

I have to stop typing now because I have a decision to make. Do I invest in a tide-me-over-for-five-weeks battery? (Seems such a waste.) Do I ride out the five weeks to save the bucks (times are tough), keep my power cord in my pocket and the phone turned off when I'm not in a position to answer it anyway? (Some of you might be thinking my husband could use the peace and quiet, but keep that to yourselves, okay?) Or do I bite the financial bullet and get a new phone now, before the upcoming hectic travel schedule? And if that is my choice, which phone do I buy? Can I even make a decision AND get acquainted with a newbie in five short weeks?

Do I make the giant leap to a SMARTPHONE like travel tech guru Phil Baker suggests, one that could also replace my HP iPAQ, which I ADORE and that gets me on the internet (in Wi-Fi zones) during trips when I choose to leave my laptop behind? Would I dare attempt to use a new whiz-bang SMARTPHONE (perhaps one way smarter than me and thus not affirming but humiliating?) on a book tour when I’m too tired to tackle new technology?

When you're self employed, these decisions need to be made by you. "Corporate" isn't setting things up, paying the bills, making the tough decisions. In my case there's only me. A natural woman. A natural traveling woman traveling with a tired battery and a few missing parts.

Yup, that would be me.

I'll keep you posted as to my decision. Just don't expect me to CALL you with it, what with the battery situation and all. But if you should hear a SMARTPHONE (and are they really THIS smart?) singing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,” you’ll know I’m nearby and that my husband, Big George, has something important to tell me.


Andrew said...

You tell us about dropping it in the toilet ... and then say "Don't ask"??? How cruel. :o)

To Love, Honor and Dismay

Anonymous said...

Radio Shack / Office Max / Staples, etc, has a low cost, one use ($2-3) "Cell Boost" batteries that might tide you over - at least give you confidence that you can always plug one in if you find yourself dead somewhere.

There also might be one-time, full size batteries available for your phone, cheap - I was in a similar situtation and got a week+ out of one - much better than my crappy battery.

Your problem sounds like a combination of a old worn out battery plus the maybe the out of network issue. Its true that a cell phone has to extend more power being connected in a weak reception area. Also being in a analog area verus ditigal. But unless your in the mountains or a 3rd world area, that shouldn't be an issue today.

Coincidently, I have a newer Motorola v330 phone that was giving me fits - couldn't get a day out of it either. I finally realized that simply plugging it in wasn't enough, it had to be wiggled until it said "charging" and be left alone until it said "complete". And only charged when near empty. I spent $200 for crap. Good luck.

Susan said...

As a stopgap, maybe you could get one of those hand-crank flashlights which now come with a cellphone adaptor plug. Something fidgety to do during those idle moments in the departure lounge, crank up your phone.

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

Thanks all for the suggestions! As it turns out, someone gave me a battery to tide me over. But after 11/15 when I get a new phone (SMARTPHONE or dumb one)I'm going to gear me up with one of your brilliant options so I never get caught in this mess again. "Something fidgety to do ..." I LOVE that!