Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Smartphone and the Dumbass

My husband and I share a passion for saving money.  My favorite bargain-hunting pastime is going to the local thrift shops (there are three within 15 minutes of my home) and paying a mere six dollars for jeans that would otherwise have cost me $69.50...or four dollars for a shirt that would have cost me $40.  I call it the "thrill of the hunt."

My husband, however, gets his kicks by shopping around endlessly for the best price on any service known to man.  While I don't have the patience for such lengthy endeavors, he will spend hours on the internet, researching the cheapest cell phone plans, the least expensive power providers, and the washer and dryer that will cost us the least in energy over a ten-year period.

He even recently signed us up for a program where the power company turns off our air conditioning periodically during the hottest parts of the day to save on electricity.  I objected to this proposition on principle, due to the fact that ever since having children I've been perpetually hot -- in the summertime I turn into a cranky, sweaty, sloppy mess that practically requires a strap-on air conditioner in order to function.  He insisted, though, claiming that this plan would save us up to sixty dollars a year.

My hubby is particularly stubborn in the area of electronic gadgetry.  Over the years, I have watched as my friends purchased first the Palm Pilot, then the Blackberry, then the iPhone or the Android... the iPad, and scores of other electronic gadgets that help them keep track of their lives.  I have sat at dinner with my mouth agape, observing them as they watched videos on their phones and texted without missing a beat of the conversations around them.

I have always felt left out of this exclusive club, as I've always sported the phone that was hot four years prior, but now comes free with the purchase of a two-year contract.  I remember being so excited when I got my first Motorala Razr -- my sister had had one three years before and had since upgraded twice. 

I awarded myself the title of "World's Crappiest Texter" after repeated incidents of being bombarded with numerous rapid-fire texts from someone, all of which interrupted my panicked efforts to complete a simple response to the first message received.  Feeling left out and completely incompetent, I comforted myself by adopting my husband's disdain towards "texters."  I frequently spouted my dislike for the practice of texting at dinner, texting while having a face-to-face conversation with someone, or just texting in general.  "It's destroying our ability to relate to each other!" I would exclaim, full of righteous indignation.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but feel like I was starting to be left behind.  My friends all seemed to be having conversations that I wasn't a part of, and I had to admit that I thought their new phones were pretty neat.  So, for Christmas, I asked my hubby for a new phone.  I said I wanted one with a keyboard -- one that could use "apps." 

He surprised me with a sleek black phone that looked a lot like the Blackberry he uses for work.  I was thrilled... until I realized that it only looked like a Blackberry.  It was actually a very cheap imitation, and he had shopped around on the internet for some no-name provider that only cost $30 a month, leaving me with a whopping 2 megabytes of data I could transmit per billing period.  The first time my friend tried to send me a picture, my phone refused it, gave me an error message, and locked up.

Not wanting to appear ungrateful, I smiled and tried to make do with the new phone.  It was a disaster.  My phone wouldn't let me receive any pictures.  It claimed it could access Facebook, but it took ten steps, an incantation and dance, and some low-level voodoo to actually log on.  And after all that effort, all I could do was type my status -- it wouldn't let me see anything (probably to keep me from going over my 2 megabyte limit).  This didn't do me much good, as my slow texting apparently irritated my phone to the extent that it would habitually log me out of Facebook before I would have the chance to press the "submit" button. 

I suffered through this humiliation for four months, and then I began to complain.  My birthday was coming up, and I wanted a smartphone.  My husband objected,  "But I just bought you a new phone!" he said.

"How much did it cost?" I asked.

"Um.... ten dollars," was his response.  I snorted disdainfully, then promptly began my campaign to procure a better phone.

I saw the commercial for Virgin Mobile's $25 per month unlimited data plan, and I saw my opportunity!  I carefully crafted a sales pitch and then proceeded to bug him about it for a month straight, and lo and behold... for my birthday in May, I finally got my smartphone -- a real Android phone!!

I threw myself into learning how to use it.  I was amazed that I could push a button and Facebook would automatically open!  I could see my friends' pictures and status updates! I felt like a new woman!

(This brings me to the "dumbass" portion of my post.)

I can now proudly say that I have finally learned to text.  I can pull up a little keyboard on my phone, and tap-tap-tap -- a message goes out in seconds!   The problem is that my shiny new phone demands a lot more attention than my old one did.  My old phone spent its days and nights snoozing quietly in the dark recesses of my purse, not bothering anyone.  In contrast, my new smartphone lounges self-importantly on the kitchen counter, constantly asserting its superiority by chirping away merrily every other minute.  And it's next to impossible not to check what's it's carrying on about! 

Last night my husband was kindly putting my son to bed, and I was downstairs feeding my 17-month-old daughter a bedtime snack.  My phone began to chirp.  I picked it up to find that a friend of mine had texted me a question, so I set to work on answering.  Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in typing the message that I didn't notice my daughter, who had chosen that exact moment to climb onto the end table and reach inside the lampshade to explore.

I heard a bloodcurdling screech, dropped the phone, and saw my poor daughter holding her wounded hand and screaming in agony.  She had grabbed the light bulb and burned her little paw.  I then had to explain to my husband that our daughter had hurt herself because I was texting.  Oh, how the righteous had fallen.

We set to work trying to comfort her, and after two hours and a lot of crying, she finally went to sleep.  There was no major damage done to her hand -- it was mostly just red, but I still berated myself for the rest of the evening, vowing never again to look away from her to send a text.

In light of this unfortunate event, I am formally lobbying for the following warning message to be displayed on all smartphones upon startup... or at least on mine!
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  1. I love the way you write your blog posts! This story cracks me up. I'm still using my env3, which is pretty high tech, but soon (as in this week hopefully) I'll be getting my very own iPhone as a belated birthday present. Hopefully I won't have too many dumbass moments...

  2. LOL! this is hilarious... and so like ME... the world's crappiest texter... and then get me a real smart phone... and I am such a dumbass. I need to just put the thing away.

  3. You are speaking my language. Sounds like my life. My kid hurt herself putting on her shoes today. It never ends...:)Follow me too at

  4. Haha! I love this!! I am the same way about having a phone a few years later! I always go for the "free with upgrade" phones and refuse the smart phones! My husband, on the other hand, upgrades to a new one every other week and we really miss his companionship in the real world!

    I always love your posts. Very well written. :-)

  5. LOL your posts are so great! I had to laugh even more, as I lay here in the bathtub, "text-commenting" on your blog, from my phone. You are so right, these little gadgets are beyond addicting! I saw a show last wk on "1,000 ways to die"...a woman was @ her acupuncturist's...needles spread all over her body, laying in bed w/her cell on the table next to her...someone texts her and she goes to reach for her phone and BAM...falls off table and dies instantly from a million little needles submerged into her body...these things are deadly...literally lol ;) have a wonderful week!!

  6. Sorry but I have won the crappiest texter award and I still have the ancient phone. I'm looking to upgrade... eventually. My dh sounds much like yours!


  7. Soo funny! I had the exact same problem. My husband refused to get me a smartphone because he said I was terrible with technology and wouldn't use it right. He's right of course - but I still didn't care. I lunched with my friends who all texted and facebooked and I felt completely left out of the cool girl club. So mother's day came and I marched into Verizon and got myself a new phone while he grumbled the whole way. and I am obsessed with it! I charge it and check it when I used to forget I even had a phone since it did nothing. Hooray for us!!!

  8. I bugged Keith for a year before he finally gave in and upgraded us to our Samsung Galaxy S android. I wish I was as smart as my phone. It will definately spoil you once you have one. I'm still learning how it works and I've had it since March!


  9. Ah, the glory of gadgets. You love em and hate em! I do at least. It seems the blog look isn't the only thing we share in common...well we used to. I still have my cheap dumpy phone:)

  10. I love all your comments! You gals rock! It's so nice to hear I'm not the only one fumbling with new technology! He he!

  11. hi, following via GFC from the blog hop.
    your blog is very interesting. :)

    hope you stop by and say hi!

    have a great day!

  12. Following from the blog hop! Very nice blog!
    hope you'll follow back!

  13. It's true, that the more technology we allow into our lives, doesn't it seem the MORE time it takes up!!!! Great post

  14. Hilarious! Following you from the weekend blog hop. Please visit my blog at and join/follow/like me! Thanks! Emily

  15. Hey everybody! Google Friend Connect is down again! Pbbbbttttt!!!! If you're a Blogger user, you should have a "follow" link on the Blogger toolbar at the top of this page that you can click, and it will let you follow. If you're not a Blogger user, leave me a comment with your blog address and let me know you'd like to trade follows, and I'll drop by your site and follow you when GFC is back up. Google really needs to get their act together!!!!

  16. Visiting again with some exciting news: I've given you the sunshine award, check out how to accept it here:

  17. You are hilarious. I felt the same way about getting a smartphone. I didn't even know how to text until last month. Now I am searching the web and waking up in the middle of the night to see who was beeping me. Another temporarily dumbass here ;)
    I am following you via Mingle blog hop. I don't see you GFC I don't know if it something I am doing wrong or if it is Google. Liked you on facebook. Stop by my blog and follow however you like.

  18. Hi , Started my blog hop. Your husband sound like me! Keep saving, you will thank him when you're old. lol. great post. Nina

  19. Hi from thetwosavvysisters blog hop! Very funny story! My friends make fun of me because I don't have a text plan... I say - just call me like they did in olden days lol... or at least send me an email!

    hugs! Kim @ Party Frosting!

  20. Hi,

    Stopping by from the FNF blog hop! Love your blog...I'm now following!

    I know exactly what you mean about the smartphone commanding more attention! I literally have to turn my off at night or even on silent when I'm with my family so I'm not checking it every 2 mins. This way I only think to check it every hour or 2. LOL


  21. Found you on the weekend blog hop. I love the blogs that make me laugh! I'm a new follower on GFC. Check out my blog if you get a chance.

  22. Sorry about your daughters hand but I'm glad you got a smartphone :). I learned to text this past year too. Fun fun, if only I could see the screen.

    New Follower. Love your blog.

  23. You are hilarious!!! I love this post! I am sorry about your daughter's hand . . . something like that would happen to me. :) I am your newest follower and would love to have you follow me back!
    Camille @

  24. Still hilarious! Following you on the Weekend blog hop. Thanks for Co-Hosting.
    Already following you ;)

  25. You are a great writer! I really enjoyed this post! I am visiting from the hop! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me back! thanks so much!

  26. Hi from your latest follower. Just calling by from Sunday Blog hops. Great post. I love going to Thrift shops as well.Be sure to check out me out at Sarah

  27. Great post! I'm as cheap as your hubby. We actually had that program where the AC shut off in the summer. It was quickly canceled. I'm cheap; but I need my AC. My cell phone is about 10 years old. I have no idea how to text LOL.

    Following you from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop. Feel free to visit me at

  28. Too funny. I sometimes hate how much my phone distracts me then I swear to never use it and even go as far as erasing my facebook app. Yah that lasts about a day or two and then I am right back at it. Thank goodness my husband just pretends to be cheap and says he bargain hunts but really is not that good at it. I so could not stand the a/c off in the summer heck my temperature has never fixed itself since the birth of my son I would die without it!

  29. I'm so amused by your blog now I just can't stop reading!


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