Twenty four months have elapsed and for once I’ve been on the ball enough to know I’m up for phone and internet software renewal so during a lull in my week I make time to visit the phone shop.
The shop is brightly lit, hot…and chock full of customers. I settle down at an empty desk to wait for service, entertained by three children who are galloping around the small shop floor while their father works his way through the range of products available. The children pause their gallops only long enough for a brief prod at the buttons on a row of tablets lining one wall.
I wait and wait. Shop assistants come and go from the store room. More customers enter the shop. I shed my coat and my scarf, toy with my phone a bit, watch the children.
Some time later an assistant looks up and spots me where I sit at the vacant desk. ‘Have you been seen yet?’ he asks.
He tells me he’ll be ‘one minute’.
After a few minutes he settles across the desk and I explain that my contract has expired. I tell him I am not typical, that unusually I am not a heavy user of my phone, not glued to it, not a taker of selfies [I still use a camera], not a watcher of films upon it, or a downloader of things. I am, still, a laptop user. I type on a keyboard. This explains our use of the cunning, little white pebble that is our mobile wifi, worth its weight in bandwidth, which accompanies us on our travels.
The young man attempts a soft push, offering me extra capacity, extra minutes, an additional tablet device, a line for Husband [who will never be persuaded away from his pay-as-you-go]. I do actually consider the tablet for a few seconds-until I remember the nest of tablets languishing abandoned in a drawer at home. I explain we’ve never, ever exceeded our allocation, never needed to top up. If my existing phone cannot be recycled I’d like a new battery, only. This, of course is not an option-
When I leave the store with my new phone and upgraded mobile Wifi I feel unexpectedly chipper. The new phone is a Huawei. Will I be spied upon? The mobile pebble we’ve used for several years has always been Huawei so I am sanguine enough about having their phone.
At home I follow the instructions for copying everything from old to new with perfect results. The new phone has a larger screen, is able to alert me with a proper telephone-ringing sound and is fast to respond to my requests.
A few days later the three year old microwave in our kitchen gives up the ghost. Nobody, we find, repairs microwaves. I go to the appliance store, peruse the display, take my phone, ring Husband, send him a photo of one. He rings me with the results of reviews. I’ve surprised myself by behaving like the rest of society.