4/1/12

The Dead Phone Chronicles: Part 1

Exactly one week ago today I left my Droid X in the pocket of my favorite jeans and threw them in the wash. The standard reaction to this is panic, but if you know me, you know better than to think I panicked. Upon realizing what I did, I swiftly and calmly opened the washer mid-fill and sloshed around for my pants. I took the phone out, took the battery out of the phone and dunked it in a bowl of dry rice. If you're unfamiliar with this maneuver, it is supposed to be the quickest way to draw moisture out of your phone. Two days later I was in Tunisia killing a man. That's not true. But I was mourning a death. The death of my phone.

The rice trick hadn't worked at all. Maybe it was because I had to stand my phone upright for the bigger pools of water to drip out. Maybe it's because I tried to turn it on too early. Whatever the case may be, my phone is providing Angry Birds entertainment for Jesus now. (Assuming Jesus is on the Verizon network.) And I spent the better half of last week trying to figure out what to do about it. I don't have the money to get another smartphone, and if I pick up a dumbphone it'll burn my hand like Elven rope burns Smeagol.
YOU DROPPED PRECIOUSSS IN WATER!? STUPID HOBBITSESSS!!
I wasn't totally out of contact, though. If anyone knows my number, they know my Google Voice number. I don't even know my "real" number. Google has been kind (and forward-thinking) enough to hook Chat for Google (formerly known as Google Talk) up with Google Voice and allow users to receive phone calls from Chat. Besides that, there's a Google Voice extension for Google Chrome with which I can send and receive text messages. And if you remember, over a year ago I received a beta Google Chromebook that I can basically carry around anywhere to access Facebook or Twitter or any social service I desire. So all I've really lost is games, right? Well, then I open up Google+ and there's my Angry Birds.

I was sitting in Applebee's trying to figure out the payment system for the 3G access on my Chromebook when it hit me: this could totally be my "phone". If I suspended my phone service and dropped $20 each month for 1GB of data on the Chromebook with which I use wifi most of the time anyway, I could be saving $50 a month. $50 that could be going toward a new phone. The kicker? I wanted a new phone anyway. I'm not a fan of physical buttons like the Droid X has, but I was willing to live with them. Now that they no longer live with me, I can look at a new phone with soft buttons. I can look at the ultimate Android phone that I've been wanting since switching to the glorious Google OS. I can look at the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
[Cue angel choir]
So, here's the plan: I'm going to be That Guy. The guy without a phone. Except, as opposed to others of these kinds of guys, you can actually get in touch with me. Same number, same voicemail, same texts, different style. I'll be living the mobile life off my Chromebook and saving up money for a Nexus. And Each week I'll be checking in to tell the tale of life on the other side: life without a phone. Until I have the power of the Galaxy in my hand, if you happen to be feeling generous, I won't turn turn down a donation to the cause.

Last night I had a text conversation that spanned three locations with someone for whom I care very deeply. All told, we sent 70 SMS messages back and forth, settled some long-standing misconceptions and walked away from it with a deeper love for and understanding of each other. All without a messaging bundle, without a service contract, without a data plan; nothing but a busted up Chromebook on wifi and the power of Google. A dead phone is not going to be the end of my life. And The Dead Phone Chronicles will tell the tale of how I survived.

Saved so far: $0; 0% of $300 goal.

[Read part 2]