2017: A Phone Odyssey

It finally happened. My reliable, well-loved Blackberry went kaput.

This was my third, or fourth or fifth Blackberry. We are talking at least a decade of Blackberry-type phones.  I was addicted to the tactile keys and never wanted to resort to a a slider, where the letters would just jump around when your fingers swiped over them.

No such luck.

I grudgingly went to my server, Verizon, for a good deal. Since I was such a longtime customer, they offered me big discounts on a couple of models. I selected the cheapest one I could find, that would be picked up in a couple of hours. I didn’t want to wait, phoneless, and I was resigned to a slider so I didn’t care what they gave me.

I finally found my way to the store, which took way longer than normal because I didn’t have a GPS. I went up to the counter and they brought the new phone out in a box. There were two young ladies behind the counter. I think one had purple hair. They were super friendly, with little glittering nose rings. “What’s your phone number?” one asked.

I started, “906-”

“Oh, she’s from the UP!” one said.

“Do they have any towers up there?” the other asked.

“Very few. No McDonald’s on the island. No shopping mall.”

“Wow. What is that like? What do you DO?”

“Yeah,” said the other. “How do you handle it?”

I just smiled. The girl was opening the box and pulled my new phone out, a long, paper-thin, glossy rectangle. It was huge — definitely not something I could squeeze into the front pocket of my jeans.

“Holy cow! It’s a monolith.”

They smiled politely.

“I’ll just show you how to turn it on. The start button is right here,” the girl said helpfully.

The little computer jumped to life with an encouraging blingy sound. I looked at the screen, now lighting up with color. “My god! It’s full of stars!”

I got crickets. They stared at me across the counter, its flat laminate like a cultural desert separating our generations.

I basically had no choice, so I just tossed my new electronic hunk of tile into the shopping bag and drove home.


I was resigned to my fate, but mourning my Blackberry and not above complaining about it on Facebook. “OMG. This phone is like a big flat slab of black ice. I can’t even hang on to it. The keys flash and disappear and reappear sideways when I try to type. I have apps flipping down and then zipping out of sight again.”

“What kind is it?” someone asked.

“Its an LG which I now realize means ‘large’. And I can now totally understand why proper spelling and punctuation has fallen by the wayside. Because typing on this thing is a freak challenge and extra steps are required xxx for such niceties as correct grammar!” (Just to illustrate my point: I tried to write “real challenge”. Not “freak challenge.” and I don’t know what the x’s mean.)

I instantly started getting all kinds of advice from experienced smart phone jockeys.

“Get a case.”

“Get an OtterBox or that type of a protective case. You’ll be glad that you did.”

“YES!!! Otterbox has saved my phone, no joke, a dozen times!! We are too active and outdoorsy, horse and dog people to not have something durable.”

“Turn it off … and back on. Needs a reset.”

“Today’s phones, like the computers they are, sometimes lose their little minds trying to keep track of everything and need to be reset.”

“Embrace technology.”

“LOL Nancy – still miss my old Blackberry, but it’s history. You’ll adjust. A good tactile casing helps..”

“Come over for dinner tonight and I’ll help you.”

“Add the Swipe feature and you can just run your finger over the keyboard instead of tapping each individual key. You’ll love it.”

“You can turn off the spell correct.”

“Should of got an iPhone they are so user friendly.”

I needed a break from the screen. I stepped outside and noticed some early spring hyacinths popping up.


I ran back in and got the phone. I hit the app button that looked like a camera, took aim and shot. The detail. Heck, blackberry would never let me get THIS close.



After that came a smorgasboard of photos. The cat. The dogs. The horses. My betta fish.


The whole time I marveled at the clarity. The focus. And yes, the size of the screen. The camera — well now I don’t even think of it as a phone anymore — it’s a brand new visual tool.

The photos aren’t all perfect. But those that are not, well, they can only be attributable to human error.




About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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