We’ve suffered for a long time at the hands of AT&T. I’m not about using my blog to trash companies, but it’s been three long years of not getting reception in our own house and spending ten minutes with a wailing toddler waiting for the “hippo and dog” YouTube video to load.
Last fall we went to a Blazers game with our friends Dave and Courtney. Tom and I looked up from worrying that neither of us had a single bar on our iPhones (how would the sitter reach us?), to see Dave watching live-streaming ESPN on his Verizon Android. Watching ESPN inside an arena! What the hell. I could not have been more shocked if Dave had started levitating. Tom looked like he was going to cry. From that night on, it was a race to the finish. To the finish of our two-year AT&T contract.
I blamed AT&T, and solely AT&T, for our troubles. But for Tom, the AT&T stink had permeated his iPhone, and he wanted nothing more to do with either AT&T or Apple. For eight months I got to hear him talk about his new phone, the one he would get when our contract was up. “Yoona, it’s a Samsung. Babe, it’s KOREAN. Aren’t you happy I’ll have a Korean phone?” Tom panders to my nationalistic tendencies only when he wants to buy electronics. I remembered him doing the same thing five years ago, when he was making a play for a 54″ flatscreen that promised to overpower our living room and wrestle it into submission. “Yoona, it’s an LG. It’s Korean!! Aren’t you happy we’ll have a Korean TV?”
A month ago, Tom came home with his iPhone, screen shattered. Did he shatter it himself with a hammer, in a moment of frustration? Perhaps. He says he dropped it. We were a month away from the end of our contract. He did his best to hang in, but I felt bad when he started getting bloody cuts on his fingers from the glass.
At the Verizon store, he ran to the Samsung Galaxy 4S on display. “Excuse me,” he said, loudly, to a passing salesperson. “I need to get this phone off this cord so I can feel it in my hand.” The four customers waiting in line before us looked incredulous. I started looking at a tablet and pretended I was shopping alone. It was no use. “Yoona!,” Tom shouted, from across the store. “Yoona!!!” Shit, people were starting to look. The jig was up. “Come here!! Look! It is so cool!!!”
I walked over to see Tom holding a phone that was approximately the size of a paperback novel. It even seemed like Tom couldn’t get his huge mitt comfortably around the thing. “Isn’t it a little big?,” I asked. “No, no, no,” Tom answered. “It’s perfect. Perfect for reading documents.” Right. I started to ask more questions but Tom had already run over to the accessories display to pick out his phone cover. He grabbed a hot pink OtterBox. “I need one of these in case my phone gets wet. Patrick has one. So does Andy.” Patrick is a chef and has his phone near liquids all the time. Andy fishes most days. The most liquid Tom’s phone was apt to get near was a double Americano. Still, it felt cruel to deflate Tom’s excitement.
After our phones were procured, we left for a weekend with our friends Jess and Brett, at their mountain cabin. On the ride up, I watched from the driver’s seat as Tom continually used his finger to scroll past the same screen, showing a hot air balloon, on his new phone. It was clear that Tom had no idea what to do with his new phone, or how to get past the hot air balloon. I couldn’t resist baiting him. “So what do you like about your new phone?,” I asked. “Everything,” Tom replied, his tone warning me not to press.
“Like what, specifically?,” I asked. Tom looked annoyed. “Well, like how big it is.” I waited for Tom to continue. “And how pink it is.” Technically, he was talking about his phone cover, but I didn’t have the heart to correct him, because by now he was doing a spot-on imitation of Steve Carrell’s character in Anchorman (“I love…lamp“), and I was really enjoying the show.
“Also, I love my OtterBox,” Tom said. He looked at me as if daring me to respond. He must have been provoked by my general demeanor, because suddenly, he came out with fists swinging. “I don’t even know why you got a new iPhone. Apple sends all their money to Ireland. They don’t even pay taxes.” I’d poked the bear and it was poking back! I swallowed my retort that he’d had an iPhone until five hours ago, and let it lie.
Tom’s new phone promises to provide delights in the weeks and months to come. Will Tom use the clip-on belt holder in public, for example. How long will he continue to refer to it as “my Precious,” for another. I may report back.