Car Phone Blues


“Beam me up, Scottie!” My flip phone. Used for calls and texts

I use an old-style flip-phone, the kind first seen on Star Trek. This causes a great degree of mirth in family and friends. To them, I might as well be using a quill to dip in ink, the kind of man who still tucks his jersey into his pants, and swipes his T-shirts on river rocks as a free laundry mat.

Almost all my friends and colleagues use iPhones of one type or another, some with expensive cases as a personalised extra. My excuse for not using one is, I’m too mean to buy one, take out annual contracts, and generally get screwed by Apple. My flip-phone is incapable of taking over my life, even when driving.

For the nosey

The model is heavy-duty Samsung purchased in Los Angeles, a ‘Rugby’ Samsung, given that name because it’s so rugged bounced off the tarmac a few times (as has happened) it’ll survive better and last longer than lightweight versions.

I bought it stateside almost ten years ago. The battery life is five days used continuously. It takes decent photographs. (There are no naked mistresses on it.) To tell the time I look at the window on the front. I no longer wear a wristwatch.

I use it for calls and texts. And the odd photograph. Full stop.

In-car use

My car has Bluetooth which is perfect for safe, hands free phone calls. The Parrot aftermarket  installation offers the facility to speak-call a number, but the box of tricks to run it is large and heavy, and usually needs screwed under the dash to stop it falling out.

Every time the car is serviced the Bluetooth needs rebooted because service staff have disconnected the battery for some reason, a real pain in the ass because I don’t notice the omission until I need to call somebody while I’m on the move.

Pay as you go.

I believe, but expect I’m wrong, no phone company can keep track of me, although I suspect some sort of spy-in-the-sky can if MI5 thought me a person of interest, which I hope I am if my work on behalf of Scotland’s liberty has not been a damn waste of time.

Except for an annoying habit of delivering texts sometimes a day late, it’s reliable. (Which is to say, not a hundred per cent reliable in an emergency.) I don’t want forced to answer e-mails. And I certainly do NOT want to go chasing Pokémon, Bogeyman, betting sites, or get addicted to moronic games concerning disappearing sweeties, or squat Italian plumbers who can leap over bombs and dragons. For entertainment I watch instead countless pedestrians step off the kerb into the line of traffic while glued to their iPhones.

Bad drivers

I can’t speak for readers, but I notice lots of fellow drivers reading text messages or texting while driving. It’s a stupid thing to do, yet there have been instances my phone has rung and I’ve tried to answer it as I was negotiating traffic. Mea culpa.

Here’s a list of why I’ll stick to my Jurassic flip mobile and not buy an iPhone


I have no need to remember a password. Flip open the phone – make your call. Flip open the phone – check your texts. Having no Apps means no need for multi-passwords. Signing into the iTunes store: Apple ID? Password? User password? System admin password? Password for password? Forgot? Given up? Gone to get a sledgehammer?

No advertising

I never receive any cold callers or unwanted advertising, with the annoying exception of Virgin telling me if a fork out another £10 right now I can enjoy a million free texts between 2am and 3am weekends, or something like it. And no one tells me my phone is way, way out of date – LOL – check no one is smothering laughter in the tube train; so, time to buy the latest sooper-dooper flat phone, thin as a photographer’s model, that’s every so slightly bevelled, and now combs your hair. “Get the new larger pocket iPhone  – you can land a helicopter on it!”

Endless hardware upgrades

My office desk drawer, and my car glove compartment has only one phone lead in it, the one used for charging in Scotland, and abroad, in places such as England. It is not crammed full with obsolete iPhonesd, iPods, iPads, MacBooks, chargers and cables, or a tangle of headphones of various colours. Last person I saw wearing headphones was the idiot who stepped off the pavement without looking, just as I turned my car into her path.

The Ringtone

I chose a cricket chirruping quietly. When I don’t want that ringtone it vibrates. The phone doesn’t make the same ringtone as others causing me to reach for it in crowd situations when no one has called me. It doesn’t shout ‘HELOOOO!”, or make a knocking sound like an angry chairperson at a rowdy meeting. It chirrups. Now and then a person standing nearby will say, “What’s that?” And I answer, “My pet cricket”. And when my phone rings it doesn’t have everybody around me reach for their iPhone.


If I want to know the weather I look out the window, at the sky. A relative uses an up-to-the-minute iPhone which she changes every year for the latest model. She can even tell where a plane is and what is its expected time of arrival. I think she also has an App for telling how many geese have flown overhead in formation, and how many tadpoles eggs will hatch from a given spawn.

The cost of phones

The cheapest iPhone is almost the deposit for an apartment. Most of the world’s population can’t afford one. The cheapest iPhone is, I think, about £400. The cheapest flip-phone is about £30. Repairs cost £10 or £20. Your iPhone repair starts at £200. Cracked screen? A bargain at £100. I don’t have any expensive accessories. Flip phones do without expensive upgrades.

I am not Sparticus

I am not slave to Apple’s manipulation of the market and its products. My phone’s batteries do not combust spontaneously when not in use, unlike Samsung’s Galaxy 7.

I don’t feel alone or lonely if not glued to my phone’s screen, hoping someone will call to tell me I exist. Nor do I call them to say I’m texting from my cinema seat and the film hasn’t started, or Isle 7 in Tesco, and have they seen the price of tinned rice pudding?

I believe by keeping my flip phone and having a no hands car phone I am not depleting the world’s resources, exploiting poor workers in Mexico or South Korea, or placing other drivers lives in jeopardy.

On the other hand, I won’t cure malaria or cancer because I have all your money.


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One Response to Car Phone Blues

  1. Pre-Smart phone I had Nokia 5810s. Great wee phone which did support browsing, just not to the degree that the iPhone does. I repair my own cracked screen though. The last repair cost me £8 for the bits, admittedly I had to wait 10 days while they arrived from Hong Kong. Will I get another? Probably not. I think I’ll just get a sim-only deal and keep this one going until it finally expires. When it pegs it, I still have a 5810 and a Starfleet issue Motorola hiding in the loft…

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