|Why yes, that is my cell phone.|
Alright, far is subjective, to me living in Little Rhody as I do (37 miles wide and 48 miles long), 100 miles is a haul. This, mind you, coming from a fellow who used to think nothing of loading the family unit into the mobile, gasoline-powered, four wheel conveyance to drive from Nebraska to Louisiana for to visit The Missus Herself's kinfolk. (Yes, she has sisters who make their residence here in the US of A.)
A hundred miles! In Little Rhody such a trip is unheard of, that's for folks from somewhere else, like Vermont. (Where I was born and raised. No giant herself, The Green Mountain state is a humongous, by Rhode Island standards, 80 miles wide and 160 miles in length. Yes, yes, I know, I'm sure there are counties in Texas that are bigger. I'm sure the Texans will comment upon that in, where else, the comments. Yes, Juvat, I am looking at you...)
Where was I? Oh yeah. 2009, December, exile, got it...
In January I went north. With me I carried the family cell phone. The Missus Herself and I shared a phone. I saw no need for one, the feminine units of the family decreed otherwise, "Mom shall have a cell phone. Yes, Dad, if Mom says you can, you may use it too." So the phone was "jointly" held. (No, not really.) But when I went north, The Missus Herself (far wiser than I) thought it would be smart if I took the phone with me, being on the road and all that. (No, nothing like Kerouac.)
So I had a cell phone, sort of. It was most confusing, the feminine component of the progeny had not been informed, so they would call and ask why I was answering "Mom's phone." As in they couldn't believe that I had the temerity to use the Matriarch's personal cell phone.
That went on for a couple of weeks. The daughters were getting annoyed, The Missus Herself was annoyed at not having her personal communications device at hand. So I suggested perhaps that another phone might be in order, with me being on a "remote" assignment, all alone in a hotel, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
So to the purveyor of small personal communication devices we went to see what was on offer. I explained to the sales staff that I wasn't really interested in a multi-million dollar purchase and what, by your leave, was the cheapest thing they had in the store which would serve as a phone. Just a phone, no camera needed, no fancy Web of World-Wideness needed, what can I get for under 20 bucks?
After we all stopped laughing at the "two tin cans and a crap ton of string for long distance" jokes we got down to brass tacks, to business, as it were.
"Well Sir, we have the Go Phone."
"Where is it going?" Again, much hilarity ensued (mostly on my part, all the others tried not to look at me funny).
In all seriousness, what I got was a wee flip phone, much like this -
Very cheap, very practical.
Until I discovered that the little beastie actually had a built in camera. And the capability of sending and receiving text messages. Well, photos as well, the progeny could send me photos. I thought, this is cool, very cool. And it was small, easily stowed in a pocket, but of course I had to get a little carrying case thingee to sling the wee beastie from my belt.
Which led to me saying this, almost immediately.
Yes, the whole utility belt thing. Yes, I got carried away.
At any rate (remember what that means), I carried that little phone for many a month. The progeny liked to overwhelm me with text messages and photos. Lots of photos. I quickly discovered that the memory in my wee little phone was good for about ten photos.
So I'd get a new picture, have to decide which of the pictures on my phone I needed to delete, then open the new picture. Which would turn out to be a photo along the lines of "What do you think of my new shoes?"
"Sigh, I deleted a photo of a cool tree I saw so I could see your new shoes?"
"Oh sorry Dad. Meant to send that to Mom."
This went on for a couple of years, until one Christmas The WSO gave me a gift card. One of those "use it anywhere Visa is accepted" kind of cards.
"Nice, how much is on this?"
"Uh Dad, that's so you can buy a real cell phone."
"I have a real cell phone, after all..."
"Mom, you're going to make Dad buy a nicer cell phone, right?"
Well, they discussed it as if I wasn't there, like I was out of the room, like I...
So off to the purveyor of small personal communication devices we went.
When I pulled out my little flip phone the guy behind the counter starting explaining Go Phones to me. Before I could slaughter him, tear the building down and then salt the ground upon which it stood, The Missus Herself gave me The Look. Everyone knows The Look.
Well, all guys know The Look.
"My husband needs a bigger phone, his Go Phone [suppressed chuckles from the sales staff] is on our current plan, basically he wants an upgrade."
After an explanation of how we'd need an Act of Parliament, thirty forms of identification, and the complete lyrics, in clear English, of Jumping Jack Flash and a deposit in the amount of...
Before I could grab the guy by the collar and say...
...The Missus Herself jumped in and completed the negotiations.
We walked out together and I had a brand new cell phone. Which could take and hold hundreds upon hundreds of pictures. Hell, I could watch freaking videos on the thing! I felt so, I dunno, 21st Century!
I've had that bad boy a long time. What prompted me to write of my cell phone was the fact that I, all by myself with no assistance whatsoever from The Missus Herself or the progeny, went on-line, to Amazon no less, and purchased not one, but two, count them, two, batteries for my cell phone.
Okay Sarge, what's the big deal, okay you bought spare batteries. Why?
Ah, I'm glad you asked. The old battery was dying rapidly. I mean a battery will only last so long, my working inside what is essentially a Faraday cage drains the poor beastie even more as he's constantly looking for a signal.
Well, just turn it off until you get to a place with a good signal. Ah, I tried that, here's what I got...
"So Dad, why aren't you answering your phone?"
So I figured new batteries. Give new life to the old phone. Besides which, they're only six bucks each. Shipping was free.
So we'll see how this goes, will the new battery power the Sarge's phone throughout the day, even though the wee beast is constantly seeking a signal?
Stay tuned sports fans.
We shall see.
(What's even more amazing is that I actually changed the battery all by myself. Without breaking anything. Keep in mind, I used to work aircraft maintenance. One of the tools in our tool box was a big rubber mallet. We were also supplied with a pair of vice grips. They didn't call us WCS gorillas for nothing.)
I really enjoy saying, "I'm Batman..."