Donald MacInnes: Phone-switch fun? No, I'm just wringing my hands

In The Red

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The Independent Online

Things have changed in my world. I don't mean I have decided to embrace my long-subjugated girlish side and sashay around in gingham frocks and white ankle socks with glittery scrunchies in my hair.

Neither does it mean I have abandoned my standards of breakfast entertainment and started listening to the Today programme in preference to watching Frasier. All I mean is I have finally bought an iPhone. It's a 4S. Whatever that is. Regular readers will recall when I accompanied my wife to our local O2 shop last year in a ludicrously optimistic attempt to buy one of these slick gadgets for her. Not only did we struggle to find anyone who would actually sell us anything, but we didn't even get a chance to speak to the in-store "tech guru", who was hovering cross-legged on a silken cushion four feet off the ground. He had a big Ali Baba-style turban on, too, but that's hardly important.

So, why return to the same shop this week? Desperation. I had been struggling with my network provider. I shan't mention its name, although I will say that it rhymes (much like its service, in my experience), with both "pee" and "wee". Furthermore, every month it used to make me feel like I had been stung by a "bee", due to the astronomical "fee" I had to pay for the privilege. And the handset it gave me could only have been less useless if it had been made entirely of "brie".

I would spend hours on the brink of tears while my phone vainly searched the ether for a signal strong enough to send my text. I genuinely used to have to hold the thing upside down if I wanted to get sufficient bars to dispatch an SMS. People often like to make the comparison that the computers used on the Apollo spaceships were capable of just a fraction of the performance of a modern mobile phone. Well, I can assure you that if those gallant astronauts had had to rely on my handset, they would have ended up hurtling towards the sun.

Another problem with my phone was the size of its keyboard. Even though I have hands described by my doctor as "scientifically, really quite small, in a travelling Victorian circus freak show kind of way… in fact can you wear these gloves in the waiting room, as you are frightening my other patients"), even I struggled to use this tiny keyboard. So it was time to get something else and, given that my interminable contract with my provider had ended, I was free to flirt elsewhere. Therefore, I found myself approaching the O2 shop. To find out what happened, tune in next week. Unless you're listening to Radio 4, of course.

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