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A few weeks ago, my faithful 3G HTC Incredible began to do weird things. For example, when I tried to open my text messages, it would tell me its memory was full. But three text messages a full memory doth not make. Ever resourceful, I hit *228 and, against a background of really strange electronic music, Verizon updated my operating system. Problem solved. Or so I thought.

Faithful 3G Droid

But no, my otherwise highly reliable companion since 2009, kept refusing to go about business as usual. And while the *228 trick worked every time, who wants to hear weird music several times a day just to open an app? Not me. (Now if the background music had been my favorite jazz/ska band, Western Standard Time, I might have taken a different view of the proceedings. But what if’s don’t count.)

Favorite Jazz/Ska Band: Western Standard Time

So I went to a Higher Authority – namely my sons, who Understand Technology and speak Geek Speak to perfection. The answer turned out to be simple, but deadly.

“Your operating system is a piece of shit,” my oldest son Chris said with true Geek Speak elegance. “Verizon has stopped updating it. You will have to get a new phone!”

“But I don’t want a new phone. This is the best phone I’ve ever had!” (Read between the lines: I actually know how to use this phone and It Understands Me.)

“Sorry, Mom.”

I was in heavy denial over the impending death of my little Droid buddy. So I sought a Second Opinion.

Not long after my youngest son Michael, computer software major extraordinaire, stepped off the plane for his Thanksgiving visit, I asked him if my 3G baby could be saved. Answer: “Not a chance, Mom.”

So with a heavy heart, after turkey feasting on Thursday, I set out with Michael for the Verizon store on Friday. While we waited eons for our number to come up on the Next Customer List, we browsed around, trying out the 4G phones. Chris had just upgraded to the gigantic Samsung Galaxy. Ever competitive, I announced I wanted one, too, only to be laughed down by the Geek Speakers who said it was Way More Phone Than I Would Ever Need. Ten minutes of swiping its touch screen not only convinced me they were right (to my great humiliation), it also convinced me the phone was way too big to fit into any evening purse ever invented. Clearly a male designed it. Possibly a male who had never seen an evening purse.

Next, I worked my way through the smaller Samsungs and then, at last, found the 4G version of my beloved Droid. Happily I tried to figure out where in the world they had hidden my favorite icons on this new incarnation of my baby. But they were not in the same places!

Michael found me trying to get the hang of the new version.

“It’s not the same phone, Mom.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it’s not. If you get it, you’ll still have to get used to a new phone.”

“No, I won’t.” I was too proud to admit he was right. And I was wondering why they had changed things. At least it wasn’t any bigger than my own little Droid. It would fit into an evening bag!

But, then, for some reason, both Michael and I turned to the left and saw IT: The Windows Phone. It drew us like the Sirens singing to Ulysses or like the Monolith dropping out of the sky in 2001, A Space Odyssey. We picked up its ultra sleek thinness and began to explore its touch screen. I expected to hear the opening fanfare from Thus Spake Zarathustra. (That would make a killer ring tone, by the way.)

The Monolith

Guilt settled over me. How could I even consider another phone? It was like picking out a new husband while the old one watched. But after I discovered the Windows Phone understood my southern accent and would let me dictate a text message, I let Michael talk me into trying one out. After all, I had fourteen days to Bring It Back. And my tiny little thumbs are not user friendly on touch screen key pads. (What do people with big thumbs do? Buy the Samsung Galaxy I guess and forego evening wear.)

Anyway, in deep emotional conflict, I left with the smart, sleek Windows phone in my purse, and its various charming accessories packed into a suitably Christmasy Verizon logoed shopping bag. How could buying a new phone leave me feeling as if I were setting out alone on uncharted waters? Because, truth to tell, the next not quite fourteen days would show me I had done exactly that.

Siren’s song: Windows Phone

Next time: Trying to Survive Without Google Nav or Droid Love II

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The Irish and Southerners are born storytellers. Think James Joyce or William Faulkner, or John Grisham. When I was a child in Tennessee and we visited the extended family, the women sat in the kitchen telling stories about their lives as wives, and the men sat in livingroom telling stories about sports and jobs and politics.

By accident I became a lawyer. But by birth I am a storyteller. Fortunately, lawyers tell stories, so I got it half right.

In California people do not like to wait. Show Californians a line, and they will begin to complain. This annoys me because growing up Southern, I learned it is polite to take your turn. Even if that means waiting. And polite waiting is not grumbling about it.

As you can imagine, as an appellate attorney who essentially writes legal term papers for a living, I am a huge patron of FedEx. They make all my briefs ready to go to the court of appeal. So one of the places, I am often in line is my local, favorite FedEx.

On Sunday morning I bopped in wearing my workout attire because I was on my way to the gym. (And no makeup, by the way. A real switch up for a daughter of the South who wouldn’t leave the house without mascara for most of her life. I am certain I will die with my mascara ON.) Before the guy working the counter could find my latest legal gem, now copied and bound and looking oh so All Pro, he had to wait on the customer ahead of me. She was involved in directing him in some sort of copying job. I immediately switched into “waiting mode” and studied my counter companion. She was a middled aged woman, wearing sweat pants, t-shirt, and jeans jacket. I could tell she had spent at least ten seconds pulling this outfit together. She was definitely not thesartorialist.com material. But what set her apart was the plethora of gold and diamond jewelry on her hands. Literally a ring on each finger. A BIG one with a BIG diamond in each.

Now, it was a bit much. And I wouldn’t do it. But it worked on her for some odd reason. So I complimented her jewelry.

She broke into a huge smile as people often do when they know you are interested in their story. She explained the rings were gifts from her children although she had chosen them herself. “I ask them to give me money throughout the year for birthday and Christmas and Mother’s Day. And I save up in a special account, and I buy something I want.” Then I realized she now carried with her every day on every finger a visible reminder of her children’s love. So her jewelry wasn’t too much, after all. It was just right for her. It’s amazing how you enrich your own life when you give away a compliment and receive a story in return.

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