Describe your relationship with your phone. Is it your lifeline, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?
Before I got this far, I had to go on a long road. At the beginning it was just a mobile phone. I soon discovered that every country had its own word for it. In Switzerland we tended to call it a NATEL after the company that produced it. The Italians had such a sweet word, “telefonino”, the Americans of course had the master word in technical jargon, the “cell phone”. The French brought it to a point with “le portable” and for the Germans it was often known as a “handy” prounced more like “hendy”. One way or the other everyone had one. I remember my first version. A lovely little panasonic. Perhaps little was too much said. It felt quite heavy in the hand, was contained in a protective plastic cover (which I bought separately to protect it), but I knew how it worked. There was no screen with photos, I had a camera for photos. The main thing was I was available at all times. Being a working woman and leaving my young children to the care of school or the mother-in-law, I found it necessary to be available at all times.
As time progressed my panasonic was no longer doing its job so well. This was no problem.
“You can have mine” said Mr. Swiss and so he bought himself a new one. This was the beginning of my hand-me-down experience of portable telephones. Everytime mine seemed to give up the ghost, Mr. Swiss promptly gave me his and bought a new one. This did not bother me too much. I only needed a telephone to call someone or to be called. Perhaps I misunderstood this, was I wrong? Was this portable telephone becoming something like a status symbol. Eventually they were produced with screens, they could take photos.
What did this all cost? No problem, it was covered by your local telephone provider. In my case it was Swisscom. I could have avoided this by just buying a prepaid card to insert into the telephone, although here the problem might occur that when making or receiving a telephone call, a matter of life or death, you might run out of space on the card. So I continued paying for my telephone availability.
Then, one fine day, some bright spark somewhere invented the iPhone. This changed my life completely. I no longer got hand-me-downs, but had to organise my own. Both my youngest son and Mr. Swiss had their own iPhone. This did not interest me the least bit. I could not care. However it was becoming disturbing when my youngest son paid us a visit, or might stay a few days (it was the time when he was working in another country, so his visits to hotel mama were more like annual holidays).
I would sit at my computer doing something simple like blogging, or facebooking whilst Mr. Swiss and my son were engaged in an important discussion on communications.
“Dad, have you got that app?”
“Which one son?”
“This one, it has all the Swiss train connections and its free.” and my son showed it to Mr. Swiss. There then followed as learning process as son No. 2 showed Mr. Swiss how easy it was to download this app and how he could find it.
I pretended to be busy, but was listening with one ear to this new language about apps coupled with illustrations, especially the bit about it being free. Suddenly my son received a call on his iPhone, although it was silent. It vibrated, a sort of buzzing noise that bees make if you interrupt their routine. Son No. 2 disappeared in another room, no – he went outside as he found our walls were too thick for a clear reception and was holding a telephone discussion.
So all further visits from my son to his hotel mama were accompanied by secret conversations with his father in a language which I basically did not understand.
“That would be something for you” said Mr. Swiss “you are interested in computers, completed a web assistant course and had a couple of web sites. I am sure you will love it and get the hang of it eventually.”
I found the word “eventually” was not really necessary. True, computers did fascinate me, no problem, but telephones, that was something completely different. I swam a bit in this new communication system, so I tried to ignore the problem until one day when my last handy, mobile or whatever gave up the ghost. It was the first one I had bought all on my own, as Mr. Swiss hand-me-downs no longer existed, or so I thought. My telephone casualty was examined, and the verdict was you need a new one. Then Mr. Swiss said (I will never forget it)
“Take my old iPhone, I do not need it any more.”
Mr. Swiss already had a new iPhone, an iPhone series . Series 3 was already out of date. I took the plunge and tried it out. I adopted it. I even loaded some apps. Mr. Swiss did not even have a Facebook app on his iPhone. No idea how to treat a respectable usable iPhone I thought. Oh yes, it took me a few days and I was in. Mr. Swiss had a few apps on the iPhone, I soon covered two pages full of apps. I then decided I should have a nice little case on my iPhone. Something modern, perhaps an english flag? Then the problems started. My hand-me-down iPhone was series 3. There were no cases available for this series 3 iPhone with the rounded corners. It seemed you could only buy protective cases for series 4, which had square corners. Are you with me? Do you see how good I was getting?
The next shock arrived about a day later. I got an SMS (you know one of these telephone text messages, which I now knew how to operate) from the Swisscom, congratulating me on my new iPhone and telling me that due to this fact, my monthly costs would be increased.
“Mr. Swiss, what is all this about?” I asked with a trembling voice.
“No problem, it is clear that it will cost a little more, I will deal with it.”
I decided no, I will deal with it. I told Mr. Swiss to wait and that afternoon I went on a secret mission to our local Swisscom shop to be advised. Not going into details, but when I arrived home again I was the proud possessor of an iPhone series 4. I had a contract with Swisscom (the lowest financial amount to pay) enabling me to have all calls within Switzerland free of charge and free access to my e-mails as well as surfing on Internet. I also now had a stylish cover for my new iPhone resembling an english flag.
Life was now fun. When I was waiting for the bus to arrive if I was going anywhere I belonged to the groups of young people occupying themselves with various telephone operations. Perhaps playing a game (I just love diamond dash), or perhaps studying the newest offers on various web sites. Yes, I belonged. I even had my Kindle app on my wonderful new series 4 iPhone, so I could read further in my book, sitting at the bus stop. I did not bother with iTunes, as the hearing aids were not my sort of thing. Now and again I took a photo, it was handier perhaps than my camera, but I have a pocket digi camera which fits nicely into my jacket, so not really necessary. Mr. Swiss naturally has an iPhone with a lot more capacity than mine, it cost more, but I do not really need it. In any case. I belonged. I was one of the iPhone groupies.
I even took my iPhone to England when visiting my father. I had to pay a little more, but both Mr. Swiss and I have the Skype app on our phones, so our Skype calls were free. I also bought a wonderful cover for my iPhone in London, an english flag in the original colours. I had arrived. In the meanwhile iPhone 5 is on the market, but not yet. I do not even like it, too big and will not fit in my jeans pocket so well.
My relationship with my phone – of course, I do not really need it, or do I? In the meanwhile I have a mini iPad (tablet?) in my collection which is a member of my computer/iPhone club. Yes, I am 100% online, a cyber creation.