My daughter is an Honor's student with a straight A average. I'm not bragging as these are not my achievements, I'm just giving you a clue as to why her father and I wanted to buy her the new iPhone. Although she can be the biggest source of aggravation and sometimes pain in my life, even when she suffered her first big "break-up" this school year, she managed to pull herself out of a tailspin and finish strong academically. She was exempt from all finals and hey, she deserved a reward.
So, opening day for the iPhone, July 11th, her dad and I took her to the closest AT&T store. We knew we weren't going to get an actual phone, but they were doing a pre-pay deal. Pay now, you'll get the iPhone within 2 weeks, guaranteed. Fair enough.
We drive a considerable distance to this store and wait in a small line of 2 other customers. For some reason it took 5 staff members 30 minutes to wait on 2 people, but okay, who am I to judge? Finally, we get to a person who looks up our already existing cellphone account with AT&T.
We're in luck! My daughter is eligible for an upgrade, which means we don't have to lose our Family Talk Plan rates (almost half of what they're charging now, but I digress). The staff member waiting on us is taking all kinds of information, and then right before she finishes I ask, "So, our plan won't change? We'll still be paying what we pay now for service?"
"Well, you'll have an additional $30 charge a month for your daughter's phone for the unlimited data plan, but besides that, yes, the lines will be the same."
I say, "Hmm, but we already pay $30 for unlimited texting and now there will be another $30 charge just for one phone!?!?"
We are then told the charge is non-negotiable from iPhone. You can't just have texting, you MUST have unlimited data even if you don't want to use the Internet. It's not AT&T who is enforcing it, blah blah blah.
I say, "Well, can she IM instead of text?"
I am told, "No, IM and text is billed out one in the same. If she IMs on her iPhone without unlimited texting, she'll be billed for each one." Holy crap.
My mind does fast math and says, "Wow, paying that fee with tax is like buying a new iPhone every 6 months." And I'm sorry, but in a time of increased food, gas, and everything else prices, I just couldn't see being forced to pay it ... for 2 years (because you get locked into the iPhone contract for an additional 2 years regardless of current contract length).
Daughter says, "But you have the money."
I say, "Yes, we have the money, but that's because we don't make stupid purchases ... like this one. We need to stop and think."
Call me crazy, but am I the only one who thinks this isn't right? I know people out there who have the iPhone and have never heard or read a one complaint regarding this extra monthly fee. Don't they mind paying $30 extra a month just to use their iPhone? Am I just cheap?
After having a discussion with daughter explaining my apprehension, I told her we needed to sleep on it. Before she was home even an hour, she went on the AT&T site and picked out a different phone with a touch screen, GPS, the 3G thing (no idea what that is, but iPhones are excited to have it), but also a slide-out keyboard, and uh, hello, WiFi. WiFi, which means if she wants to go on the internet she can when in "hot spots" WITHOUT paying for it or an additional $30 fee. Hello, Tilt! Personally, I think it's better than the iPhone, but I think the name iPhone is what attracts consumers. Like iPods. I have an iPod and I have another knock-off and yeah, the only difference is their shape ... oh, and that the other was a quarter of the iPod cost.
I know in this age of "the next best thing" where everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and camp out all night just to get a damned phone, it isn't very cool of me to use a modicum of thought and think before we buy, but I if a lot more people did this, mandatory charges would be a thing of the past. Consumers could control the way businesses treat us and the prices we pay, but I am just one woman who has one happy daughter happily texting away on her new cellphone.
I don't normally share videos, but I just saw this on the television and literally cried my eyes out. I played it over again and cried all over again, thank you very much. I think this is absolutely one of the most touching and beautiful videos I have ever seen. It's only a bit over a minute long. Please, give it a look and let me know if it touched you as well.
Original post is below this one, but lastnight I came up with an entry based on Jason's picture. Actually, these two fools began to chat inside my head and I just wrote down what they said. It's rough and unpolished, but 249 words and unfutzed around with. (My original entry was taken from my journal and was not a creative piece of fiction although the comments I received were nice ones at the contest) So, based on the photo above, I bring you (and no offense to Jason, you'll get it when you read the last line):
“I don’t quite know what to say,” Ned leaned out the window of the Photo Hut.
“Then just answer me this … are there round orbs of light?” Vern asked, expectantly.
“Yep, I’d say that’s about right. Little blurry though.”
“Damn it! Not again.” Vern punched at his bike seat.
“Now, Vern, not too blurry. Fact I’d say anyone who looked at your photo would know exactly what they were seeing.”
“Ned, don’t shit me on this.”
“Buddy, I shit you not.”
“All those years gettin' laughed at. All those bitches who left cause I couldn’t get no ‘real’ job …”
“Yeah, yeah, Vern, I know, I know. Come on now, it ain’t gonna open itself.”
“I know that, but … I been doing this most ‘o my life. This here’s been a long row to hoe. It ain’t easy bein’ the only guy in town chasin’ UFOs ‘stead o’ women. But old Vern’s not so stupid no more, is he? And just last week you were talking 'bout me moving out on account of yer old lady. You mighta missed out …,” Vern flicked open the envelope, turned the picture over, and stammered, “on … wait, this is … it’s my …”
“That my smart old buddy, ain’t no mothership ... it’s yer damn bike! And Vern, while I got yer ear, I want yer jagged ass off my couch by tomorrow. I mean, what kind of fool takes a picture while driving a bike, anyhow?"
at Jason's place. The picture did nothing for me, but I had something written in a journal long ago that fit, so I cut about 400 words from it to create my piece.
It's the first time I used something pre-written for one of these and this personal. All of my entries are completely made up so this one probably one even get many comments. Oh well, I needed a nice break from the summer doldrums. I'd appreciate you reading and commenting here: http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2008/07/entry-10.html as the purpose of these contests are for Jason to increase his statistics and get a better writing community going.
Forgot to mention, and this was the most important part -- if you ever wanted to write or have the hankering to write or are already writing, but not "out there" about it, these contests are really great for anyone, at any level. A lot of first timers with no real writing aspirations place the highest. If you don't care about awards like me, but need a pleasant distraction, then this is a GREAT break from those slow summers too. There's so many bloggers I interact with that I would LOVE to see in these contests. I actually can't think of one I wouldn't want to read in this setting ... so I thought if I could convince you with a paragraph, this would be the one. Convinced yet? =)
A few nights ago, I did the unusual and had a dinner of mostly vodka, tonic, and limes. Feeling very tipsy and unable to read a book with words that wouldn't stay still, I wrote this in my journal instead. I re-typed it here and apologize for all the blurred tenses and everything else:
"Leg, They Name is Hollow"
And spinning, they name is bedroom. I admit it, I'm drunk. Fact is, I have social anxiety and hubby, son and I were trying out a new restaurant tonight -- something Roadside. Ed's Roadside. Ed's Road Kill. Praying not. Whatever it was, due to the fact that the new waitress didn't know we're big tippers, she set us smack dab in the middle of the room. Social phobics need corner tables, but are too scared to request them. Quite a quandary.
Thankfully, after being seated at the wrong table, I had the sudden courage to request a large alcoholic beverage. Vodka tonic with a lime twist, to be exact. Not just one, but 3. And they were HUGE -- over 16 ounces of pure beverage, tiny smidgen of ice.
After that much alcohol was ingested within 20 minutes on an empty stomach, who the hell knows what I had for dinner? Something peppery that needed a bit of salt, but I was too busy freebasing a straw the size of a mosquito's proboscis to care. Ooooooh, then it hit. That magical tingly delicious feeling the learned folk call TIPSY. Oh, Joyous Tipsy ... how you make my husband a rare comic genius and the odd new restaurant with an overwhelming amount of knotty pine and chairs made out of twigs now seem charming. A table in the middle of the room frightening? Au contraire mon fraire, all the better to see all the pretty people surrounding me!
The drinks and time go by so quickly. Dinner is done and when my son asks me to ask the waitress for a small plastic sword just like the one he has in his celery sticks, Drunk Brain yells out with college frat boy zest, "Why the hell not?"
"Would you like the check?" Waitress asks before I can claim the booty. Drunk Brain thinks, "How can I give the barman my life savings? Most barman give you much tonic, little vodka, glass full of ice, but not this fantastic barman. This soldier of spirits does just the opposite and I LOVE him for it.
"I need a plastic sword," I tell Waitress who has been waiting while I mused over new found love for barman.
"Excuse me?" Waitress now confused and can't keep up with Drunk Brain.
"Ha ha ha ha," I laughed, "A little one, like you gave my son ... you see, I need one ..."
"Oooh, yes, ha ha, of course ..." Waitress answers, like she actually "gets it."
"Yes, the little ones, yellow, just like his ..."
"Yes, right away," Waitress says, happy to leave my scary gaze, and yet in seconds bravely reappears again with the spoils of war, not one but two, and a gigantic smile all for me as well ... as if I'm an idiot or a small child or a small idiotic child. I grabbed at those swords like I'm Henry VIII and it's a turkey leg, then smiled triumph. My son whispered, "I was joking. My God, I didn't think you'd actually do it."
And Drunk Brain looks at the Stuart Little swords and then at your empty glasses, the last of which is a mason jar. This is when my affable and wonderful, sober, coffee-drinking husband says, "There's something completely wrong about drinking a vodka tonic out of a mason jar." And Drunk Brain realizes it IS in fact a mason jar so I try to say something clever and end up saying, "People who drink alcohol out of these scare me." What!?!
Ride home. At least a pint of vodka is in longer in your stomach and husband is following a small motorcycle holding average sized male and omfg in heaven super-sized female whose ass cheeks look like 2 hams trying to attack the back tire. I blink and look over at husband who is not sure if I'm drunk enough for him to make a comment about a plus-sized gal without getting hit. You let him off the hook with a, "That's odd." Husband's so grateful you're not being PC tonight says, "That's too much weight for that bike!"
"What?" Drunk Brain asks.
"See the tires. The fender's almost on the tire."
You laugh. I mean, it IS a comical sight. Tiny bike, 200 lb male, 350 lb female (I'm being kind), it makes Drunk Brain giggle a bit.
Husband amazed he has you laughing says seriously, "They need a cruiser." Then goes on to explain how cruisers are for "heavy weights" ... built for comfort and for bigger butts.
Drunk Brain finds this absolutely hysterical, but it doesn't know why. Out of the blue I say, "Most mopeds have a 187 pound weight limit." Did I just make that up and spit it out as fact? Yes, I think I did and it made me love Drunk Brain and how knowledgeable it is and then husband says, "Jesus, if you're going to take HER for a ride, you'd better put the tailgate down and back up into her."
Forget it. I can't breathe. I'm officially hysterical with laughter. At home now, I'm purple with laughter, not breathing, and even more so when confused son is being told the joke step by step by father with visual aid of my truck's tailgate, husband's tiny ass sliding back onto it.
Oh, Drunk Brain, I love you. You are THE BEST.
(By the way, during the night I HATED Drunk Brain as it wouldn't let me sleep and the next morning, I absolutely loathed Drunk Brain because it had joined forces with evil Killer Headache. Blargh.)