Android Killed in Car Crash, Services Held in NY

August 4th, 2011

Modern life is filled with “hi-tech” objects about which we know relatively little. Take our “smart phones”, for example. I bought an ‘android’ phone during my year-long stay in California, which appeared to have a life of its own. I will refrain from mentioning the brand, having no concept of whether this problem crosses all brand types. I also don’t want to infer this is typical of any particular phone – the workings of such inventions remain incomprehensible to me!

Anyway, this phone magically ‘synchs’ with email accounts and had so many applications that they seemed to multiply in the dark between phone uses. The numbers of applications, (and I’m still not sure what an ‘app’ is), demonstrated a growth rate which the stock market would envy. I couldn’t seem to turn the phone off and the battery would run down because some of these ‘apps’ never ceased their operations. This was especially puzzling since the internet connection had stopped working, barring me from viewing my beloved email and favorite websites.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like to think I operate my appliances instead of their operating independently or controlling my actions. Other than making occasional phone calls and erasing them as I went, I found few uses for this item which didn’t seem to go awry. Understanding that some assistance was going to be needed by this ‘techno-idiot’, I called the company for phone assistance. Unfortunately, my security password didn’t match the records. Unsurprised by this, given my poor retention of numerical data, I stopped using the phone and set off on a return journey across country to my place of origin, New York City.

Once I’d returned to New York, a new number with a local area code seemed to be in order and I went to a corporate store for help with this process. Their assistance was useful in obtaining my security password and a new phone number. Unfortunately, their manipulations were not successful in helping me regain access to the internet. Returning to the store a few days later to address this important problem, life suddenly became ‘surreal’.

In the corporate store, I enjoyed watching music videos while awaiting my turn at the service desk. Eventually, I was called up and the ensuing encounter was Kafka-esque in the extreme. The specialist had to once again conjure up the security code since the one I recalled from the prior visit appeared incorrect. He then expressed some confusion about the phone’s operation and disappeared into the backroom with it. Emerging a few minutes later, he conferred with other staff, expressing his amazement that not only was there no memory card, but no contacts at all remained in the phone’s memory.

I apologetically explained that the ‘apps’ on the phone were spontaneously generating so I had removed any opportunity for them to amass via expanded memory by removing the card. As it was, the remaining apps still seemed to increase in number and were a constant drain on the battery. Furthermore, I had reset the phone for privacy given the fact that these things were appearing despite the fact that I hadn’t personally conjured them up. Could the same thing happen with a call record? I had no idea!

There was also exasperation expressed by the staff that I had turned off the ‘synch’ feature so my email wasn’t automatically displayed when the darn thing was fired up. Yes, terribly old-fashioned of me but I prefer to call up personal documents myself using my own, favorite search engines. It troubled me that my phone had a more exciting life than I did, being independently active and secretly communing with unknown powers in the universe.

The staff conferred about these apparent eccentricities and consoled one another. The absence of any data in the phone appeared to be a terrible disappointment to them. I vowed to become a more knowledgeable phone user in the future. We then returned to my primary concern about not being able to connect to the internet. Interestingly, no one seemed to know how to restore the internet connection. At that juncture, I decided that having a phone so much smarter than I, was just not an intelligent choice. I requested my account be cancelled, since it was only a month to month contract anyway.

The representative reluctantly agreed to my request and spent a considerable amount of time punching instructions into the little steel rectangle. Standing there, I began to feel a painful ringing in my ears and developed a migraine. Telling the rep that I needed to leave, my intention was to cancel the contract by phone directly with the company.

Unfortunately, that call made later in the evening, didn’t produce the desired results. My security code again failed to unlock the magic of access to my account and I was directed to return to a corporate location. I decided to return to the store without the phone itself, just in case further information managed to enter it without my knowledge or consent. Interestingly, the phone met with an untimely end prior to that trip. My car ran over it after it fell to the ground in a parking lot.

Twice.

Bearing my identification card and the now-defunct phone with me, my next visit to the corporate store went much more quickly. They made a call and informed me that my account was officially canceled. I thanked the staff and left, only to realize it might be a good idea to confirm that the death certificate had actually been recorded with the company itself.

The company disavowed any knowledge of the account changes. However, this time I had the correct security password and the company canceled the account once and for all. Services were held in a tasteful, private ceremony with just myself and a dumpster in attendance.

I like my simple, “pay-as-you-go” cell phone now. It gets strong hissing sounds when I make calls but connects me with others and even lets me surf the web without incurring any degree of angst. If it does have a private life of its own, it doesn’t tell me about it.

And I now have a New York phone number.

Categories: Letters

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