I have an abnormal amount of anxiety when it comes to making large purchases. Large purchases where there are too many options, too many strongly voiced and researched opinions, where, in the end, selection and satisfaction are totally arbitrary and based on self- inflicted barometers of quality value.
Make me crazy.
Literally- near hyperventilating, uncontrollable irritability, and research exhaustion.
So when I lost my phone in Thailand (an adventure I'm sure to post on eventually), the disappointment was not just the decreased convenience on the trip itself (which was substantial, considering T-Mobile's awesome new 'free internet while abroad' thing they've got going on, and our dependence on it through my phone and not Porter's), but because I knew that when I returned home I'd have to buy a new phone. And I hate buying new phones.
I hate the stores and the displays - phones chained to them with clamps so bulky there's no way you can really tell how the phone will feel in your hand (it's like trying on sunglasses with the massive anti-theft bars on them: imagination required). I hate deciphering specs and reviews. The Apple vs. Android holy war - smug on both sides, and both correct enough in their dogma that I can't side with one or the other. I hate spending money on things that don't bring me a more delightful satisfaction (rather than the practical sort that come from cars, phones, and functional shoes [i.e. running, hiking, flip flops]).
Luckily, I had a backup phone so I didn't have to shop right away. If it had just a few less quirks- really, I think if it has reasonable and consistent battery life (25% battery after 15 minutes of use... 50% battery life after several hours use?), I might have kept it.
So after 3 weeks of chugging along and a cold that should have kept me square away from any real errands, I finally went into a T-Mobile store with the intention to buy. 10 minutes later, I left, depressed and annoyed and put in my place with Porter's observation, "I can't believe how awful you were to that salesman. It's not his fault you hate phones." Not his fault they're all HUGE and don't have keyboards and cost as much as a laptop. BLERGH.
The next day I sucked it up and braved another store, this time the flagship one, by the oddly very purple-of-late T-Mobile headquarters, mostly because they had set up my replacement phone and were totally tolerable about it, and a little because I knew at some point in the process I'd retort about something or other (or several things and others), and I secretly hoped that some execs would be in the store, in hearing range, and wield their actual decision-making authority to make some positive changes.
I breezed through the actual purchase, with a full disclaimer to my guy that the process makes me grumpy and I'd like to speed through it. I was armed with my decision (Scott's recommendation I demanded from him because I am incapable of caring enough to weed through reviews and crunch value numbers on my own). I had hoped for the mid-range, but was swept to the Nexus 5.
"I hate how big it is. My hands cramp up using a 5 inch screen with one hand!"
"I do not care about that feature even a tiny bit. I would never use that."
"Ha! Heaven forbid they give you a clear screen cover. Brand it right in the middle so customers have to purchase screen protectors".
I am the most obnoxious customer ever. But Raython (or something like that) was unnecessarily nice and patient with me, and I made it through the reboot with minimal snarks and lots of apologies for being awful.
And I got a great phone out of it, mental crisis be damned. The three best things about my new phone are:
1. Voice recognition that WORKS! 'Ok Google...' feels conversational and chatty, like asking a friend for a favor. I installed half my apps by voice on my way home from work. And sent texts, made 2 phone calls, and posted to Facebook. Only one error!
2. It feels good in my hands. It's no Blackberry Bold (it's luscious keyboard and smooth trackpad are the gold standard in terms of cell phone-appendage chemistry) but I realize times are a'changin', keyboards are out, screens are in, blah blah. Regardless of its size, I can use it one-handed (read: laying in bed, too lazy too sit up and use both hands), and the non-button home screen buttons (you know, the ones on the bottom) show up when they should and disappear when they should.
3. It functions like a computer. This is the perspective Kelsie gave me after I called her, stricken and complaining about the agony that is spending money I have on something I need (I get it this is First World Problems to the max).
"I just spent four hundred dollars on a phooooooooone). Why do they have to be so DAMN expensive?"
"Because it's a computer that fits in your pocket" she said, in encouraging and understanding voice, not a patronizing one, because that's how Kelsie is. She understands anxiety over things that no one should have anxiety over, and walking through rationale to get over it. "You could get a phone for $80, but it would just be a phone. Maybe you could text". And suddenly it was worth it. Because I do need it. For work, directions, and late night/early morning mind engagement. I will use a bunch of the apps available and cross-functionality and syncing. I use the features they charge so much for and it makes it worth it. So get a grip and enjoy it.
And hopefully it lasts me two years.