Everyday Life, Family Life

Episode 33 – Phone Plans

“How can you be so happy?”

Denny has a decidedly more happy life than I have.

“There’s so much to be happy about.”

I’m quiet.

“Make a list,” he tells me.

I am known for lists.

“Don’t do it. Because it will stress you out. Just three is enough.”

Denny is walking around. He has more energy now that he is swimming and going to the gym. He doesn’t just sit on the couch.

“My dad used to sing, ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one….”

Denny sings. He has a good voice. I’ve always loved Denny’s voice. A fine baritone.

“We tend to weigh the negative above the positive. But there’s so much positive. Far more positive than negative. I know people say that there is so much bad in the world, but really it’s not true. There is far more good stuff.”

I’m Denny’s captive audience.

“You know, that feeling you had the other day. That feeling that you might actually enjoy your job. That can happen. That feeling was indicative of a turning point. Hang onto it and it will happen and you’ll feel really nice.”

I think about that for a moment, then change the subject. “Do you like my new computer case?”

“Yeah, I really do. Where did you get it?”

“At the Apple store.”

“Must have been expensive.”

It was. I bought a MacBook Pro for my job. My desktop dinosaur was no longer supported by Microsoft, which meant no updates and increased security risk. I made an executive decision while my boss was in India. That’s what administrators are supposed to do.

“I was looking at the iPhones in the Apple store.”

Denny perks up, “Did you look at the small one or the big one.”

“I think I prefer the small one.”

“Yeah?” After a moment he adds, “You know, I’ve saved up $450 for a phone for myself but if you want to get one we could put it towards yours and I could wait.”

That is a very generous offer. One I couldn’t accept, I think to myself. But then he tells me that he has had his phone for two years. I consider that mine is going on four. Denny and I bought iPhones at the same time and then he got an Android.

“If you go on a plan you get $500 off. But you can’t get what you have now, for the minimal plan, and it costs more than the plan you have. But you know what they can do for you? You buy the plan with features that you don’t want. Then you break your contract, and get the features removed, and the plan discounted to what you have now. You have to get somebody that knows what they are doing. In other words you break your contract and that costs you $250. So you get your phone for $250 less.”

I’m doing the calculations in my head. It seems criminal to charge $700-$1000 for a phone. Whoever is in the phone business has got this figured out. There was a time when we paid $40 a month for a land line. Now every family member has a phone at $75 a month, and every two years they have to upgrade and each buy a $700 phone. Wow!

“I think I’ll keep my phone. It’s still working fine.” Denny really wants me to get an Android phone, instead of an iPhone, but I’m finding all this new technology a bit overwhelming. Learning to use Linux was big. Switching from a Windows to a Mac computer was huge. I’m not sure how different an Android is from an iPhone, but I’m sure it would take adjusting. Besides, I’m hearing from Denny that it won’t be compatible with my Macbook Air, my personal computer, the one I’ve been taking to work until now.

My phone is still working. I’ve got a great plan. I only pay $35 a month. No need to change. I’m good, I tell Denny.

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