Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nothing to read here -- go on to whatever else you had in mind


I know you won't have any interest in what follows, which is just for me. I feel bad, though, so I thought you might enjoy this Roz Chast cartoon from the same issue of The New Yorker referenced below. (Click to enlarge.) Oh, and also the Dan Roe one below.

by Ken

I know there are important things happening in the world which demand comment from me, but they'll just have to wait another day (or possibly more). Because today is 9/10.

I should explain that on the subject of this momentous date I wrote approximately two versions of a post in my head and then decided to omit them, under the influence of John McPhee's latest New Yorker "Writing Life" piece, "Omission: Choosing what to leave out" (September 14), which I read on the subway ride home from work, while I was also writing those posts in my head. McPhee's new piece is a miraculous turnaround from his last, deeply obnoxious "Writing Life" piece, "Frames of Reference" (March 9), which I wrote about here and here. My resulting omissions represent a benefit not just to readers but to the writer as well -- since those pieces hadn't actually been written yet, there is a significant saving in labor.

So, what's 9/10? you ask. Of course yesterday, 9/9, was Bridgegate Anniversary Day, and tomorrow, 9/11, is, well, you know. But 9/10? Well, for me it's New Phone Day Maybe --the day when I can upgrade my smartphone without having to pay a $50 upgrade fee (but apparently not without paying a $30 activation fee). I have a number of options, and I can make a strong case against all of them.

The smart thing to do would be just to deactivate the thing and save both the $78/month and the bargain price I'll be offered on, say, a not-quite-current model Samsung Galaxy or iPhone. (No, of course I'm not being offered one of the brand-new iPhones.) This would be especially smart because it's looking like a really tough financial year ahead, as I continue paying off a dental bill I thought I'd paid off, except that there turned out to be a whole bunch of other charges that hadn't been billed yet. By the time the thing is paid, it will have consumed, by my rough calculation, more than a third of my humble yearly take-home pay.

And it's not as if I couldn't live without a smartphone. In the two years of my current contract I've hardly ever used my Galaxy S4, which I understand even less about than its predecesor, an S2 that I'd actually started to use -- at least as a telephone -- before it succumbed to supposed water damage that the Samsung people in Texas declared beyond repair; I thought it was kind that they paid shipping both ways, though. (Based on one phone call I attempted with the then-new S4, it sucks as a telephone, except maybe if you use earphones to hear and speak right into the mic, as I notice people doing.)

Or I could instead do one of the above-hypothesized upgrades. After all, everyone insists that the iPhone is way easier to learn to use than an Android. I might actually have gone that route two years ago, except that my carrier, Credo Mobile, didn't offer iPhone service. (Naturally they began not long after I made my two-year commitment to the S4.) Now, however, I have reached the point in my mounting loathing of Apple and everything it has come to stand for (can you tell I'm an old-time Mac user?) where joining the iPhone legions is, shall we say, burdensome.

An upgrade to whatever Galaxy model Credo is offering might make sense, except that it would be based on the same theory as my last Galaxy upgrade: that this time I would learn how to use the damn thing. In my defense, I actually attended a class in Android basics at the public library, and came away knowing approximately less than when I went in. I could, of course, spend nothing on a new phone and continue "using" (for want of a better word) my S4 -- with the same probable outcome.

Before I left work today, I went online to see what's actually on offer now that my New Phone Day Maybe is here, thinking that perhaps this would make it all become clear. Instead, it became murkier, if possible -- except for the part about my having to pay the $30 activation fee this time, which I didn't two years ago. That part seemed pretty clear. (I don't know, maybe it was waived then, and might conceivably be again. This hardly qualifies as movement in the direction of clarity, though.)

So it looks like New Phone Day Maybe is going to have the accent on the "maybe," or maybe the "maybe not."

I can't think about it anymore, especially since now I have another situation to worry about. On this evening's subway ride, after I finished the McPhee New Yorker piece, I was thumbing through the issue and noticed that, along with all the other New Yorker Festival events for which tickets go on sale tomorrow, there's Calvin Trillin's 14th annual Village-to-Chinatown eating tour, which I know sells out immediately if not sooner -- even assuming I'm prepared to pay $150. I might be, partly because it's by all accounts a great event, but also because Trillin is probably my favorite living writer, and who wouldn't pay $150 for the privilege of making a tongue-tied gibbering idiot of himself in the presence of his idol?

How cool, though, that I discovered this the day before registration starts! Or maybe not. Because I also learned that there's a full day of early registration, like today, for MasterCard users, and by consulting a financial self-cheat sheet I keep, I was reminded that no, I don't have a MasterCard anymore, since CitiBank -- another of my great corporate hates -- canceled mine because I wasn't using it. So in all likelihood by the "start" of registration tomorrow the event will be sold out anyway.

"You call that a bon mot?"

Labels: , , ,


At 9:18 AM, Blogger Bil said...

You are worthy Ken, love Roz Chast, and Trillin.

GO with the 6 if you can get a deal over the new 6S, not enuf new there to pay more for. The 6 was a big jump.

Otherwise Motorola is putting out some excellent phones as usual and Lenovo will cheapen the future ones.
Happy trailz.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Thanks, Bil. That tip about the iPhones confirms the impression I've gotten from what I've read: that the stuff that's improved in the new half-upgrade -- like the fancier camera -- isn't stuff that would matter much to me. And the 6 is definitely on offer from Credo.

Alas, I'm no closer to figuring out what to do than I was back on New Phone Day Maybe.



Post a Comment

<< Home