April 23, 2008

I have had three phones, my latest one can do lots of stuff, it never has signal but that is not the phone’s fault.  It can take pictures, videos, it can surf the internet, it has bluetooth, it has a massive memory, it can make calls.  It also goes through spells where it switches itself off at random despite having full battery.  The other day I entered a number in it, hit save, went back to the phone book and did not find the number.  Then I entered the number again, hit save and the same thing happened.  Sometimes it buzzes for a text after I have read the text, making me think that I have a new message when I have not.  It also keeps on telling me ‘please insert sim card’, which means that I have to open up the back, wiggle the sim card around and then boot it up again.  Then it tells me ‘please insert sim card’….  The fact is, as modern phones go, this is a good phone.

My phone before that used to have a problem with its background, which would occasionally go all pixelated.  It also claimed to take videos and did not, ever, even when it said that it was taking a video.  It never, in the whole time I owned it, successfully sent or opened a picture message.  It broke when some Vitamin Water in my bag burst in New York.  The combination of wet and lemony was too much for such a fragile object and the screen stopped working.  The water tasted awful as well, it was nothing but a disappointment to me.

This got me thinking about my very first phone.  It was a Nokia 3310, one evolutionary step past a brick, two past a phone box.  I took it out of its old box, charged it and booted it up.  This phone is almost six years old now, to me, and I was not its first owner.  It does not take pictures, or go online, or have bluetooth, you have to input ringtones manually or have someone send them to you.  Its picture messages were crappy stock stick-man pictures of, say a birthday cake.  You know what it did do though?

It fucking worked!  It did everything it claims to do every time I told it to without sim card errors or please wait timers.  It also has snake.

After more than six years, three of which had been spent it a box doing nothing, it worked as well as the day I bought it.  I am prepared to bet that it could withstand wet lemonyness as well.   It even kept all of my old snake highscores (and, I should add, no phone game, however colourful, has ever topped snake).  My dad still uses one of these things and it works as well as it did the day he bought it.  These phones came before video messages and pre-planned obsolescence.  It has a blunt cave-man efficiency to it.

Frankly I would take a phone which claims little but delivers over one which claims to do many things and then switches itself off.


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