Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cell Hell

So I switched cell phone providers. I had one service, I won't say which one, but let's just say that the trip to the poor house was the closest I ever came to a sprint with my previous provider. There were so many fees and taxes, it was ridiculous. My $45 a month cell phone plan cost me $187 a month. They were like "calls after 7 PM? OK, you're going to need to pay extra for the 'Unlimited Nights and Weekends' package." As opposed to the ever-popular 'Only Make Personal Calls While You're Supposed to Be Working' package.

 So I switched. I won’t tell you who I switched to, because they suck just as bad, although I will say their name rhymes with Pee-Global. My sister had told me that their service was great, and that their prices were better, and I lack a cerebral cortex when it comes to phones, so I followed along like Frankenstein’s monster, shambling towards a new provider.

 For those of you who don't know, I hate phones. They suck. First of all, I have a mild stutter. It’s not bad, I’m not like Porky Pig or Austin Pendleton in My Cousin Vinny. But when I get nervous, it’s more apparent. Now add in the fact that I’m a little hard of hearing from years spent ignoring stupid people. And it doesn’t help that half of the people who call my phone are lazy mouth breathing jag-offs who can’t be bothered to move their lips when they speak. It’s like a Jeff Dunham show without the puppets or casual racism. So every mumbling bastard I talk to on the phone sounds like Helen Keller’s imitation of Charlie Brown’s teacher.

 So I can either say “what? I can’t hear you” a hundred times, or I can just answer as if everything they’ve just said is a yes or no question, in which case they get pissed and think I’m not paying attention. Which trust me, I’m not. I hate talking on the phone. My goal, when you call me, is to get off of that phone as quickly as is humanly possible. I will fake a home invasion to get off the phone. "I gotta go, there's someone breaking down my door with an axe." "Oh my God, should I call the police?" "No, it'll be fine. It's not a big axe, more of a hatchet. I'll text you after I fight them off." I end up using fewer minutes per month than there is commercial time during an FX Channel movie. My list of outgoing phone calls is shorter than a list of character witnesses for Casey Anthony.

 So I switch over, and because I hate loose ends, I switch over on the exact day of the end of my billing cycle. That way, I can just pay my final bill and be done with it. Except the brain trust at my last provider decides for some reason that I still I used $2.33 worth of their airwaves, or bandwidth, or whatever bullshit term they use on that day. So I got a bill a month later for $2.33. I gave it its due attention, which means I used it to clean up after I watched Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams kiss in American Hustle. I am still receiving bills from them. I'm going to wait until they've printed and mailed enough of them for me to construct a twenty pound paper-mache orb surrounding 233 pennies and then mail it to them C.O.D.

 Meanwhile, my new provider can't just use my old cellphone, because of course they can't. No, I had to buy a new phone, which I couldn't afford to pay for up-front, because if I had $350 just laying around I wouldn't have trouble paying my cellphone bill. The new phone is the worst piece of technology invented. I've owned products by Fisher-Price that were more tech-savvy than this thing. It can't ever find a signal. I drop a call on the road and they call back and ask "what, did you go through a tunnel?" I'm like "no, a mosquito landed on my roof. Completely blocked the signal." And because it can't ever find a signal, it's always looking for a signal, which wastes battery life, which means that the battery is constantly being run down, and I have to recharge it, but I'm told that running it down and recharging it repeatedly kills the battery quicker, and something's wrong with the power port, because the phone keeps telling me the charger is disconnected even when it's plugged in, ​and I have to try and replace the battery before they'll replace the phone, and of course the store doesn't carry the battery by itself, so I have to order one online from a 3rd party.

 So I ordered two new batteries, so I could charge both and then when the first one dies I can switch them out rather than be tethered to a charger like someone on life support. Whenever I disconnect one battery and replace it with another, my phone's internal clock resets until it can find a signal from a tower and update the date and time. So every day, my phone dies, and I have to transplant a new fucking battery into it and fire it back up like a doctor in some prime time TV drama. "No one dies on my watch! You're going to live! Clear! BZZZZT!"

 My phone, oblivious, wakes up, and the internal clock is always reset to 7:00 pm, Saturday, December 31. Every time I see that it makes me really sad for my phone. It's like it's just waking up from a nap, on New Year's Eve, ready to party until it looks around and realized what day it actually is. My phone's like "YAWN... man, I needed that, tonight's going to be a wild New Year's Eve, it's time to party- wait, what? 10:16 AM? You're saying it's only Wednesday? October 8th? And we're at work... Fuck... So, no party? SIGH..."

 It's like a dismal, twisted remake of Fifty First Dates. Awaking thinking it's the same awesome day of the year only to find out it's some other crappy day. Even sadder, I did the math and figured out that the last time December 31 was a Saturday was 2011. So now I have to watch as my phone comes to the false realization that it's been in a coma for almost three years. "My God... 2014?! But I was just... it can't be... three years? Oh, God, what about my wife and kids? OH, GOD!" Mine is the first fucking cell-phone to be diagnosed with anterograde amnesia. And I'm there to pick up the pieces, like Teddy the cop in Memento. Suddenly my phone's background says "John G. raped and killed your wife" and the camera part starts taking pictures of people and labeling if it can trust them or not. 

Poor bastard.