Monday, June 25, 2012

"I need a new phone"

Long Suffering Spouse challenged Youngest Son's flat pronouncement: "What's the matter with the phone you have?"

"The alarm doesn't work."

Youngest Son's phone, of course, is far newer than the phones that Long Suffering Spouse and I use. Neither one could be confused with a smartphone. Mine is a battered Nokia flip phone -- quite the nifty device in its day. Unfortunately for me and my phone, the Sun set on that day about a decade ago.

My wife's phone is even older. Ordinarily, she keeps her phone off and hidden at school. But, due to one family crisis or another, one day this spring she was obliged to leave it on and charging by her desk.

This provoked the curiosity of her junior high students, most of whom are probably younger than her phone. They did not ask "whose phone is that?" or "is that your phone?" No, the little darlings asked questions like "What is that? Is that thing a phone?"

Yes, my wife's phone is old. A lot of phones make a whooshing noise or a series of chimes when they start up. Middle Son's smartphone has a flat robotic voice say "Droid," when it turns on. When my wife's starts up, you hear a voice saying, "Watson, come quickly! I need you."

Then again, she hasn't lost her phone, or dropped it in the toilet, or run it over with a car or any of the other creative ways that our children have found to kill their old phones. The older three have smartphones. They pay for them. Youngest Son is still on our account. If we can't have a smartphone, neither can he.

It took us several years to figure out that we didn't need to go to AT&T to get a new phone every time one of the kids needed a new phone: Sure we didn't have to pay that much for the replacement device, but only because AT&T kept extending our contract obligations each time. We finally realized that the phones at Target would do just as well. And the increasingly obsolete phones we use don't cost that much anymore.

But I think we will still be able to reject Youngest Son's request for a new phone, at least for the time being: There's a perfectly functional alarm clock in his room.

Besides, how often does he get up before noon during the summer anyway?


Anonymous said...

There ya go...I offered my grand daughter an alarm clock not long ago and she looked at me like I was from mars. 4 yo grandson took it a step further by straight out telling me I was, one day.

It went like this "So, you are telling me that there use to not be any cell phones and you only had one phone in the whole house for everyone to use"..."Yes"...."It had to stay in the house and you couldn't even take it with you, is that right grandma?"..."Yes"..."Well, that's just stupid. I never heard of a phone you couldn't put in your pocket. That was a REALLY long time ago when you were just little, huh?".....LOL...And that's my little darling!

Joanna said...

Learning to know between need and want is something kids need these days. Getting a new phone because the old phone’s alarm clock is broken is not wise. Comparing the price of a good alarm clock from a new phone is just out of the question! You have to make your kid understand that it’s just peer pressure that’s making him want a new phone, and that soon you will be able to buy him one. But he has to work for it by having good grades and behaving well. I was in the same position years ago and my parents did the same thing to me. It turned out they were right all along.

Joanna Daniels