No Telephono

I don’t have phone. Contemporary smartphone shopping engenders a fraught bewilderment that rings tedious to others. Three years ago, I bought from Sprint a $200 iPhone 6s with neither an activation fee nor a monthly charge. Today, the cellphone landscape has been gentrified: do I buy the phone from my carrier or Apple? Do I lease, buy piecemeal, or buy outright this fabled device? Do I pick up insurance? Do I get the newest model or a version that is a year out of date?

That $200 purchase three years ago balloons into an anxiety-inducing $1000 today. The smartphone manufacturers got us hooked on apps, selfies, and games. Now they raise their prices 5-fold. I now longer buy a widget, but carry around a precious small computer, more expensive than my camera (how quaint) and used laptop combined.

I attempted yesterday to resuscitate a 2014 phone that would not turn on. Three hours later at the Apple Store in Union Square, the helpful technician Melody told me that the company no longer keeps diagnostic equipment to test such an old phone, but try charging it for 24 hours. At least the Apple technicians are cute.

I’m starting to hit the wall of 2-factor authentication to log into websites. I fly out Wednesday on a flight for which I used to flash airplane tickets on my phone. Friends have stopped texting, annoyed at the huge laptop lag.

So I venture out this morning first to the Sprint store, then possibly back to the Apple store. I have learned more about myself through this shopping spree. It’s not about the money, but my attitude towards the money. I won’t spend for the top-of-the-line phone because I know I won’t use all the features and I will fear losing or breaking it. But if I can get a bargain for something just a little worse, I feel like I got a good deal. Ring ring.