“You want WhatsApp? You just looked at WhatsApp.”

After a close encounter with the toilet bowl, my Samsung smartphone is no more and I have had to revert to using my Alcatel Pixi 3.5 from several years ago. It is the dumbest phone that still just about qualifies for the “smartphone” category. The kindest description I have for it is “functional” – and that only if you put the adjective “barely” in front of it.

I have decided that using the phone is a bit like dealing with an elderly, extremely grumpy clerk at a postal depot. A typical interaction with my phone goes something like this: (in my head, for some reason, the phone speaks with a sort of nasal Brooklyn accent. I have no idea why).

[I press an icon on the home screen]

Phone: WhatsApp? You want WhatApp? You just looked at WhatsApp two minutes ago. You want it again? Really? Ok fine. I’ll get you your WhatsApp. Again. [Screen goes black for a moment]. It’s here somewhere, gimme a sec, gimme a sec. OK, got it. Here’re your WhatsApp. [Screen comes back on]. You got lots of new messages lady. What, you wanna see the new messages? Now? All of them? Look, there’s a lot of messages. I’m gonna need to do a refresh to get all those showing. And a request in triplicate. What? You really wanna see them now? We’re closing for lunch. [Screen reverts back to home screen]

[I tap the WhatsApp icon again. Nothing happens]

Phone: You just looked at WhatsApp. I told you, we’re closed. Try Messenger next door.

[I tap another icon]

Phone: “What now? You wanna look at a contact? Sure, I got contacts somewhere here. Somewhere. Not on the home screen like I used to. I’m not young anymore I don’t remember where I put things. Maybe Settings will know. Hey Settings, you seen where I left the contacts list? No, it’s not on top of my head. Yeah, I’m looking for contacts, the lady wants to find someone’s number. Don’t ask we why – she’s got all those newfangled WhatsApp messages cluttering up my filing system already. Ok, ok, here, I’ve got contacts. Whaddaya wanna do now?

You wanna look up someone called Claire. I got 127 Claires in the system, lady. I can list them for you. Here’s the Claire that called you five years ago from the building society, here’s the Claire that once babysat for you…No, I don’t know which Claire you called last week…but I’ve got the Claire that no longer works in the school office…Oh, so you don’t want me to show you all of the Claires – you want to give me a surname. Ok, ok, don’t type so fast – R…A…hang on, hang on, not so fast, it’ll muddle me up. I’m gonna need a nap after this.

OK, here’s your friend Claire. You wanna call her? I’m good at the calling thing. No? You wanna WhatsApp her like all the kids are doing these days? I think I can do that, it’s in the manual here somewhere. No. Wait you want to what? You want to share her contact details to someone over WhatsApp? Lady, are you insane? My operating system is from 2013 and I have not idea about that newfangled stuff. I definitely need a nap.

[Screen goes black. I curse again]

Please, please please roll on the January sales so I can get a replacement phone soon.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash