Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cell Phones and Minutes and Pre-Paid, Oh My!

Help! I've fallen into the abyss that is searching for a new cell phone, and I can't get out (because I can't phone for help).

It has come to our attention that our cell phones are hopelessly old and outdated. Jeesh! They're only from 2001! Okay, so they're only slightly smaller than our portable handset for our landline. And, yes, KosherCook's phone has a smashed display screen and the antenna fell off somewhere downtown.

But they still work. Except you can't actually use mine for more than a minute at a time because the battery no longer holds a charge. And you can't really reach KosherCook because even though his phone is on, it slips into a parallel universe called "PowerSave Mode" and refuses to take your calls.

But, we have this great plan where as long we only talk to each other we never use a single minute!

Okay, fine. We'd be better off with two paper cups attached together by a piece of string.

So, in an effort to avoid giving rise to a new form of "tethering", I've been researching new phones and plans. This would be a fairly simple process if we could simply decide what we want and find the best price. Apparently most people shop for new electronics this way.

Not so, here at Chez Kosher Whine. You see our very old cell phone plan is also super cheap. And we can't really have it cost more than it does now. If it does cost more, the difference will have to come from somewhere else. So I have spent the past 10 days making complex mathematical calculations trying to determine if increasing the price of our cell phone plan will somehow allow us to decrease the price of our landline fees. If you have ever read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, you will understand the amount of mental energy we are talking about. (The first person to leave a comment explaining this reference gets a cookie.)

I thought I had finally reached a decision tonight: a prepaid plan that would actually save us a whopping $400 a year - unless our usage went up dramatically - and 2 low-end but well reviewed phones. But, then I made the mistake of asking KosherCook's opinion on the whole thing. I don't know why I asked - I already knew his demands were simple. He wanted his phone to ring when someone called him, and be able to pick it up and actually speak to them. But I asked, and he threw a monkey wrench into the whole thing by suggesting that (Horrors!) we didn't have to get the same phone or even the same plan!

So back to the drawing board and four hours later I came to the same conclusion as I had originally. Except...I read that the SAR rating on the phone I wanted was the absolute highest allowable by law. I don't even know what this means compared to the radiation from the microwave that I stand in front at least once a day for a minute or more, or the ancient (notice a theme here?) laptop I have resting on the majority of my internal organs as I type this.

This is not information I was looking for, but now that I have it I can't ignore it. I am the poster child for neurotically extreme caution where my health (and my family's) are concerned. I once went to a chiropractor, hoping to cure a stiff neck. I was pregnant with KosherCop at the time, so the doctor performed a battery of tests involving tilting my head in different directions and asking me if I felt dizzy, which I did. I pretty much felt dizzy the whole nine months. Because I answered "yes" he told me he could do an adjustment on my neck and everything would probably be fine, but he had to warn me that there was a 1 in 500,000 chance that I could have a stroke and die. I left without the adjustment. It really didn't matter what that second number was. 1 in 99 kajillion thrillion bazillion. I only heard the "1".

So I will probably not get the high SAR phone. I'll probably end up getting something more expensive with less features. There really is such a thing as too much information.

On the other hand, the phone I want has a speaker phone. I could just keep it really far away from me at all times and shout into it. All I need is a long stick to answer it, maybe an iron purse to keep it in and I'm all set. Problem solved!

New technology here I come.

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