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Data, data, who used the data? What's this 'data' thing, anyway?

Dear Mega-Powerful Cell Phone Provider:
Once again, despite my efforts at peace and serenity, my cellphone is still the bane of my existence, and I blame you.

I've tolerated dropped calls for years, gotten used to having to stand on the bed and hold my phone up high while trying to complete a call in certain rooms in my house, know when I can and cannot make a phone call while driving both north and south on the interstate, paid for probably six cracked phone screens between me and one daughter, and waited at your store for hours over the years due to various issues, such as the Mystery Mute Button and bulk texting, where all of a sudden my whole family is getting each other's texts.

Believe me, I have read things that no mother wants to read. But that's a story for another day.

I've held for hours as I tried to unravel the deep, dark secrets of The Call Plan, in an effort to bring down the cost of my service. Sure, eventually we land on something that seems like a better deal, but if I don't scrutinize my bill on the regular, it soon creeps again.

And now comes the Cellular Data Message that promises to add $15 to my account. For about three weeks, I received several notifications that I was getting close to going over (over on what, exactly?), then a few hours later, the confirmation that I had, indeed, gone over and would be punished with an extra charge.

For starters, I don't even know what cellular data is. I didn't know I had cellular data, I don't know why I need cellular data and I don't know how to stop using cellular data. There are four of us on the plan, with varying degrees of technological savvy, and I confess to falling somewhere on the bottom end of the spectrum.

At first, my gut instinct was to ignore you and hope you'd go away. That worked for only a little while until reality wrestled denial to the ground and I knew I was in for another frustrating, 45-minute resolution call. So I tried that.

While Erika surely is a lovely young woman, by the time we were done the situation was still clear as mud. OK. So I have to close windows I didn't know existed. Frankly, I believe that if they can put a man on the moon, and invent a mobile device that can both function as a GPS and play my music, then they should be able to invent a device that automatically closes its own windows.

Ah, but then you wouldn't get your $15, would you?

And streaming. Good or bad? Let's discuss. But first tell me ... what is streaming, again? And if I download before or perhaps after streaming, then am I still streaming? What am I saying, exactly? I really have no idea.

Anyway, while it's easy to blame the Teenager and Young Adult, they swear it's not them, and I have to admit there is a possibility they know more than I do about this subject. We are all keeping an eye on the one who is Technologically Clueless, and we think we've got him under control. So what is it?

As a final update, I finally did what I dreaded most and went into the store. Another lovely person assisted me, and for now, the notifications have stopped. How or why I do not know, and I suspect I'm not supposed to ask. Conspiracy theorists might say it's all a racket and only the ones who catch on and challenge the issue will find relief.

And I'd have to say that sounds like a possibility.

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK
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