Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The cell phone and me.

I look around now at how many people are carrying cell phones, even more than one phone.
Different carriers, different countries, different models. iPhones, Blackberries, normal ones, camera phones and God knows what other kinds there are.
The iPhone was very in before it was available in Greece. People had them from the States and had somebody “break” it so it worked in Greece. Now that it is available in Greece it has lost some of its cache. I think the models that are not available here yet are still in, if you have one that you hacked or had it done.

My first cell phone was in Mexico around the 80’s, it was a giant Motorola that weighed a ton: called a tuvla (brick). It was hardly mobile. Fortunately, I had a driver, Arturo, who carried it for me. You had to find a signal to use it, usually in the middle of an open field and it seemed to be always raining. It was a really unique experience to be able to make a call from wherever you were, sort of. As I remember it, when you had reception the phone was great, worked like a charm.

I grew up in the days of rotary dials, we didn’t have one at home and used the pay phone in Pop’s store.

Ah, progress! I soon had a really portable one, it even worked in the car. One of the first in Mexico. I think Arturo got tired of carrying the Motorola tuvla. He had some connections and got it for me. Mexico is a little like Greece; it is all about whom you know.

One day, my boss from Brazil, who ran the South American region, was on a visit. He came about three times a year to break my balls.

We leave a Coca-Cola meeting, it all went well and he was a little disappointed, he was hoping to get me on something.

We get in the car and he notices the phone, Brazil did not have them yet. He asks if he can call his secretary in Brazil, and we do. He then proceeds to dictate a fax for her to send to me from Brazil, about the meeting, while I am in the car. It had nothing to do with the actual meeting. It seemed bizarre to me to tell me about a meeting we just attended, by fax from Brazil, while I was three feet away from him.
He said it was better to have everything in writing, even though it wasn’t very accurate.

I liked faxes; you could always deny you got it, not like e-mails, which came much later.

Ah, Jens, what a character. He once called his secretary in Brazil to call the receptionist of a hotel we were staying at in Mexico to complain about something. I was in the next room. He really didn’t trust me much.

Cell phones became an obsession, they were a great help, but also very easy to call about nothing. “I am in the car” “we are about to land” “I want fruit for dinner” you have heard them all, trivial crap, rarely of any importance.

I admire people who do not have them, how do they do it?

I jump in the pool and while I am underwater I check to see if my phone is in my pocket. Unfortunately, it sometimes is.

The phone shop says the summer has started when the first customer comes in with a soaked phone.

It is nice to see a shepherd on a donkey with a cell phone to his ear, probably telling his wife what he wants for dinner.

The average Greek has more than one and the tables in the coffee shops look like a Japanese display of every phone available.

I think in a country of 10 million people there must be 30+ million cell phones, not unlike the number of chairs per capita.

I now have an iPhone with more things on it than computers the size of buildings had twenty years ago.

I use about five percent of it’s capacity and I am looking forward to my next upgrade. I want it all, especially on my cell phone, even though I cannot understand how to use it all.

1 comment:

  1. So funny and so true. It's amazing all the things we have that we don't need and when they're revised with more things we will never use, we run out and stand in line to pay exorbitant prices to buy them so we can have more things that we will never use, just to say we have one.
    Thanks for putting things in proper perspective.
    I loved rotary phones. Actually I do have one. A red one.
    Great article Greg.